Apr 15, 2009

Marvel vs. DC

Yes, there are other big companies that have characters that are easily recognizable, such as the Ninja Turtles and Hellboy, but they don't really even come close to achieving the popularity that both Marvel and DC have. Pretty much every comic book reader has their preference for one of the two largest comic book publishers. I've been a Marvel reader for years, Spider-man having been my first love in comics, but I've come to also love DC and its imprints more recently.

Of course, ask almost anyone who doesn't read comics which company is better and Marvel will probably be the one he names (assuming he knows the name). While DC has had great success with "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight," Marvel has been much more exposed in the film business in recent years. Hits like "Iron Man" and the trilogy of Spider-man films have done a lot to popularize Marvel's characters and stories.

Honestly, I think it's a shame that the Marvel-DC debate is now taking films into account when most of these films aren't completely accurate depictions of the characters. DC's films are actually truer to the original material, but Marvel has had more overall success by accounting for what audiences want to see. I'm not criticizing either company's films (Okay, maybe I'll criticize Marvel for letting Sam Raimi and Tobey MacGuire destroy Spider-man, but I've said plenty about that before). There are a lot of them that I really love. Unfortunately, looking at such films, good or bad, really distorts the comparison between the two companies.

I've come to recognize that DC may be the best company to look at for great graphic novels or limited series comics. I don't think that I will ever become a regular reader of Superman or Green Lantern comics, but no one needs to threaten me to get me to open a DC graphic novel. I love a lot of the Superman limited series, such as ones under the Elseworlds imprint that puts DC's most familiar characters into self-contained universes completely unlike the regular continuity. Some of the best stories in comics come out of them.

Despite this, one thing is not going to change for me: Marvel's characters are just better; there's not even a competition there. I like to see a certain realism (well, aside from the powers and the dressing in costume to fight crime) in my comics, and Marvel achieves this more often than DC. I find myself able to connect better with characters like Spider-man and Wolverine, because they seem to be realistic products of their pasts. Don't get me wrong. I love Superman, but sometimes his morals, too much the equivalent of a boy scout's, are just boring (thus the reason I like Elseworlds).

So when it comes down to what comic book I'd prefer to be reading... I'll still take a Marvel comic any day.

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