Some Thoughts on Marvel vs. DC

The-JLA-vs-the-Avengers-the-avengers-vs-the-justice-league-31793962-861-854The past month, I’ve been reading a whole lot of comics. Working at a library means I’m always seeing new titles pass by and I grab what I can. This isn’t that different from my normal life.

What has been different this time is that I’ve been reading a lot of DC comics. And while I tend to enjoy stepping over to the other side now and again, I was over there for a long time. I began to notice something else; I wasn’t enjoying my comic book reading as much. It was starting to feel like a chore. Reading Batman was starting to feel like work!

Then, after reading a mountain of DC comics, I began opening my Marvel books and the chore was gone! I started to enjoy what I was reading again! I think I even gave higher-than-deserved stars to those books on Goodreads just because I was glad to be back on Earth 616!

I don’t hide that I’m a Marvel fan. A lot of people like to critique the two companies about being to similar but I don’t see that as the case. The universes, while sharing some common elements, are extremly different in ways that aren’t always appearent to outsiders. But, when you read both and, while being a true fan of one, you see how the other seperates itself, and not just in character names.

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Mythology…

To me, the Marvel universe is more science based. Maybe not real science all the time, but believable science more often than not. The DC universe is more fantastic, even in it’s science fiction titles. Wonder Woman comes from an island of Greek mythology after all, Batman could easily be a swashbuckler like Zorro (his inspiration) and even Superman feels more legendary than alien.

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…technology.

But over at Marvel, radiation created most of the heroes. Even as time moves on and origins change, science is still very much the cause of these characters. Gamma bombs, super soldier serums, and cosmic rays fill backstories. Tony Stark is all technology and Reed Richards is the man of science. Thor has been defined as an alien lately, proving that Marvel can’t even let mythology have any credit.The Marvel universe also seems more down-to-Earth. Even with characters like the Hulk. It’s partly because it takes place in the real world, with real cities, instead of Gotham and Coast City. The New York City in the Marvel universe has character because the New York City in the real world has character.

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You know Batman, it takes more muscles to frown…

I think a big element DC is lacking that Marvel tends to have in abundance is humor. I can’t think of the last time a Batman or Superman comic made me laugh. Even the Flash tends not to make as many jokes in the comics as his animated counterparts. Gail Simone tends to do well with humor in her books like Secret Six and Birds of Prey but it’s usually dark humor.

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Only at Marvel!

Over at Marvel, Spider-Man is always cracking jokes. Whether to himself or to others, he’s always saying something to make you laugh. Books like Deadpool and Hawkeye are always funny. I’ve never seen DC publish anything with the intent of being funny like New Warriors and Nextwave. DC seems to take itself too seriously, preferring to tell bad stories over funny ones, more often than not. When’s the last time you even saw Batman smile?There’s other differences, with plenty of them being in the favor of DC; DC has the interesting element of ‘legacy’ heroes and lets other characters carry one the mantle of famous heroes, they have a richer history, they have a darker tone that can tell more mature stories, they have Jim Lee and Geoff Johns.

But I’m a Marvel fan.

They have the X-Men.

Posted on February 14, 2014, in comic books and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. One difference I’ve brought up before is that Marvel does characters while DC does Archetypes.

    And while I don’t read DC, from what I’ve read about it, another difference these days seems to be who each company is appealing to. DC seems to be trying to court young men, while Marvel is unquestionably trying to expand their audience.

    Also, Marvel can actually make good movies, while DC can’t even get its shit together to put out a Wonder Woman movie.

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