The advantages Marvel has over DC

Discussion in 'Comic Books and Graphic Novels' started by QLRformer, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. QLRformer

    QLRformer Seeker

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    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?
     
  2. smkspy

    smkspy Remember true fans

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    If you're going to give a history lesson, get your dates right.

    Late thirties. Detective Comics started in 1937, and Action Comics #1 was June 1938.

    Though A for effort, I suggest you pick up Bradford Wright's "Comic Book Nation" s it gives a great introduction to understanding how these companies evolved throughout the decades and their roles in American and youth culture.

    Nope, DC during the Golden Age was a world full of grey areas, particularly during the early years. It wasn't until the post-war era that DC really started heading towards a generic formula.

    This whole paragraph, first, it just skips too much time and you're depictions of characters and stories of today as examples of how Marvel always has been. You claim Magneto a sympathetic villain, but it wasn't until Claremont started writing him in the late 70s that he began to evolved into such a character. Throughout all of the 60s Magneto was just your run-of-the mill generic bad guy. The vast majority of the Marvel's villains were that for the 60s. You could say Silver Surfer was sympathetic, but I'd argue that he was never meant to be introduced as a villain. Lee's intentions were always to have him be a heroic characters.

    Also, you're going to have a hard time getting anyone to believe that Schism and AvX is proof of anything.

    I think you're seeing what you want to see here. I can do the same thing with DC. The heroes come from a variety of social types: a billionaire with a batcave, a struggling young artist given a power ring, the son of a scientist his body merged with a living computer, and so on.

    You're on the right track here, but really, Marvel's contemporary take really has its origins in Civil War. The Marvel Universe was always a more pessimitic place than the DC Universe, but Marvel's heroes were always clearly heroes, especially to the reading audience. And to be fair to DC, they anticipated the hero becoming villain long before Marvel first with turning Hawk into Monarch, then with Hal Jordan turning into Parallax. Likewise before Norman Osborn's Dark Reign, there was President Lex.

    If you haven't already, I suggest reading Busiek's JLA/Avengers. It does a great job at highlighting the differences between the universes.
     
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  3. Kakashi

    Kakashi Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget humor and imagination.
     
  4. QLRformer

    QLRformer Seeker

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    Thank you for the recommendations. I'll give those a look... but I think I saw JLA/Avengers already. There was an interesting difference noted: Cap felt Marvel's heroes weren't doing enough for mankind, while Supe felt that DC's heroes may have been doing too much. It was quite a ponderous statement and a major difference - and one that's possibly debatable about which WOULD be better and more advantageous, a matter of opinion there I guess.
     
  5. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    Having people actually give a shit about story and world building for their cinematic universes.
     
  6. smkspy

    smkspy Remember true fans

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    Admittedly, I haven't read the story since it was published, but if memory serves, I recall something to that effect yeah.From their first impressions, Cap felt that the people of DC put their heroes upon pedestals almost worshiping them to the point of gods, while Superman was horrified how Marvel's heroes could stand by and do nothing in the face of bigotry and intolerance particularly towards mutants.

    And what gives you this impression?
     
  7. femmebotfangirl

    femmebotfangirl Banned

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    Personally I think their biggest advantage right now is that Marvel is willing to give new things a shot and support them and they seem to genuinely understand why diversity is important and makes them money if they do it properly. Combined with a welcome amount of humour and fun (unlike grim and gritty DC except Harley Quinn) and Marvel is just getting more interesting and more enjoyable to read.

    Says the lifelong DC fangirl.
     
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  8. Puck Hockey

    Puck Hockey Well-Known Member

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    Because Green Lantern and Man of Steel suck. Jokes about BvS having 1000 characters aside, I'm trying not to judge that film until a trailer hits at least.
     
  9. Ravenxl7

    Ravenxl7 W.A.F.F.L.E.O.

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    That's actually what this entire thing boils down to. Neither DC nor Marvel have a clear advantage over the other. At the end of the day it's personal preference. Even then, preffering one over the other doesn't mean you can't enjoy both. I'll always be a DC fanboy, but there are parts to Marvel I enjoy as well.
     
  10. smkspy

    smkspy Remember true fans

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    To be fair, GL made a pretty decent attempt at world building the GL universe. It was just too much too soon on top of some poor character designs and villain choices.

    Man of Steel- For every person that hates it, another likes it.

    But I have to admit, I read Autovolt's comment wrong. Since we're talking about the comic book companies, I read it as he meant people within DC comics not giving a shit about story and world building for the purposes of a cinematic universe.

    Personally, I never understood the one or the other mentality myself. Just always felt narrow-minded and self-limiting, like some people are intentionally denying themselves great stories out of some false sense of brand loyalty. X-Men and Green Lantern are my two favorite franchises that I both love equally, but story is what ultimately manners in the super-hero and I'll take a great story no matter the company behind it.
     
  11. Gryph

    Gryph Action Master

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    While I like both, I'll always be a Marvel fan first. The way I've always described it is DC writes about superheroes, while Marvel writes about people who are superheroes.
     
  12. QLRformer

    QLRformer Seeker

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    Oh, I like both myself, with a slight bias towards DC. I'd rather live in a world of Superman than a world of Wolverine.

    I was just explaining why I thought Marvel Comics may possess an advantage over DC Comics in terms of contemporary times.
     
  13. Jochimus

    Jochimus Sandwiches? Blimey, whatever did I give the wife?

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    Eh. When he was first introduced Superman had no problem whatsoever tossing men hundreds of yards to their doom, or interrogating criminals via means so intimidating it literally gave them fatal heart attacks right there in his arms, or just standing there bemusedly watching some wackadoo scientist/terrorist die slowly and painfully from the poison gas the poor shlub tried to inflict on Superman himself. Cavill's Superman has NOTHING on Siegel & Shuster's Man of Steel.

    Even Batman snapped men's necks on occasion and allowed men to plummet to their deaths off buildings, and had few compunctions against using guns himself.

    As for Wonder Woman, the biggest problem she had back then was dealing with all the bondage scenarios her creator liked to work into the book...

    And this is coming from someone who's ALWAYS been the DC fan in our family; my brother's the Marvel guy. We've both gotten to the point where we recognize that neither one's preference as a publisher is really any better than the other, but I concede I enjoy Marvel's movies a hell of a lot more than DC's current ultra-serious approach to things.
     
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