Geek vs Geek: Marvel vs DC (a response)
Earlier today I watched 2BrokeGeeks Wildcat Wednesday which just so happened to be Geek vs. Geek, Marvel vs. DC. This debate is very close to my heart so I thought I’d take a moment to weigh in while foregoing the points made in the aforementioned debate. I highly recommend watching both parts before reading. Before we start I want to make two points clear; I am a DC fanboy (of sorts) and I think Superman is a tool.
(The following is a time line of my comic book adventures so feel free to skip ahead)
When I was younger I was a huge Marvel fan primarily because of the cartoons; X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Fantastic Four. My stepdad was a huge fan of Daredevil and The Punisher so some of the first comics I ever read were Marvel. When I started buying my own comics however, I was very much into Image (Spawn was my first comic collection). Later in life I found out the origin behind Image came from freelancers working for Marvel that were displeased with how they were being treated left and started this company (sounds like something Peter Parker should’ve done but then again, Jonah always seemed to soft enough for Parker to get his way). Point being I started to branch out from what was handed to me and learning to think on my own and not just eat up what I saw on TV. I became a huge fan of graphic novels since it was one story and I couldn’t always make it to the comic book store (which led me to Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics).
When it comes to comics, we as nerds/geeks look to escape. Some people read Archie but most of us read comics about heroes (or anti-heroes like Deadpool) and when it comes to heroes I feel that they are only as good as their villains. This is where I tip my hat to DC with such memorable villains as the Joker, Lex Luther, Sinestro and many others. The reason the villains are so important is because it gives the protagonist a reason. Marvel has some interesting story arcs (most notably the Civil War and Avengers vs X-Men) but they lack the villains that give reason to the heroes. Seriously, name 5 Marvel villains that non-nerds would know. Now I’m not saying there aren’t any, I’m just saying they don’t transcend pop culture as well as DC villains. When was the last time you saw a kid dress as Doctor Doom for Halloween? DC also has a knack at making their characters timeless and growing with the times (like the original Green Lantern coming out as the first openly gay superhero also hinting at it with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy years prior). As a fan of graphic novels/anthologies, DC has some of the best; Arkham Asylum: Serious House on Serious Earth (my personal favorite), Watchmen, Batman: The Killing Joke, Batman: The Long Halloween, Preacher, Superman: Red Son, and many, many more. To me, I give the edge to DC but admit that Marvel still knows how to put out good comics. Let it be known that DC has won more Eisner Awards than Marvel as well.
Still one of the greatest things Marvel’s ever produced
Now let’s talk movies. Marvel is well known for putting out some of the best superhero movies in the past 20 years but for every good film they make, they also seem to make one shit-bomb. While I love the Avengers and X-Men: First Class I cannot forgive Marvel for Elektra, Daredevil, The Punisher (and the sequel), or X-Men Origins: Wolverine among others (Spider-Man 3 gets a free pass because it was Sam Rami and he camped it up on purpose). However DC has fallen prey to some of the same bad decisions like Catwoman, Superman Returns, Green Lantern and
Batman and Robin (I refuse to acknowledge its existence in the Batman film catalogue). Still DC has made one of the biggest trilogies since Star Wars which concludes this summer. That’s right folks, Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga is arguably the greatest superhero story ever told and I am much more excited about Dark Knight Rises than I ever was about the Avengers and here’s why; Dark Knight Rises is the culmination of the epic story of Batman that has enthralled moviegoers for years whereas the Avengers was the first of a series where a group of heroes must learn to work together. Each character had a film or two for us, the fans, to get to know them before being thrown together for the first time and I was extremely hesitant at first. While Iron Man was pretty damn good, Hulk was rebooted and even then was enjoyable on a base level, then you add Thor, who being a demigod didn’t seem like he’d fit the character mold, Captain America, who was in a coma for the better part of a century (something that is only glossed over in the Avengers), and finish up with Hawkeye, who made an appearance in Thor) and Black Widow, who made an appearance in Iron Man 2. The Avengers had a lot building up to it but seemed like it could’ve been Marvels biggest bomb to date if not properly executed (and thank the gods it was). Overall, Marvel’s made more good movies but they’re also made more flops. In the end, I’m throwing my hat in with Dark Horse though because come on. They’re responsible for The Mask, Mystery Men, Alien vs Predator, Hell Boy, Sin City, and 300. Just kidding of course. But let me go on record and say that if there was ever a good Preacher film I’d have to give this to DC.
Lastly, I’ll talk video games. In the early days, video game companies would sell anything that already had a market so there are plenty of terrible, truly horrendous games based on comic books. Most of the time these games are terrible because of the controls or because they’re rushed to release at the same time as the theatrical release (Marvel has committed this sin more than once). Taking this in mind I want to focus on only standalone games and this is where DC shines. Some big Marvel games include the Marvel vs Capcom series and Ultimate Alliance. While I’m not a huge fan of fighters, MvC has always intrigued me and plays rather well and is a solid competitive game. There’s something satisfying about watching Gambit and Wolverine take on Megaman and Ryu that even gets me in for a few rounds. The problem is, I like strategy and puzzle games, RPGs, and other story heavy single player games and this is where DC shines. If you haven’t played or at least heard of Batman Arkham Asylum/City then you must have been living under a rock. I like to pretend Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe doesn’t exist but sometimes I like watching the Flash take on Sub-Zero or Scorpion rip out Superman’s spine. In the end, DC has some of the greatest comic book based video games of all time.
Batman: Arkham City. ‘Nough said.
Now while I went into this knowing full well that I had a bias for DC I still appreciate Marvel but I know that they don’t get as much of my money. I’m not here to say Marvel sucks and DC rules but I will argue until my last breath why I think DC is a better publisher.