The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Marvel v. DC: Is There a More Pointless Debate?

Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer

Big Ross checks in to discuss the pointless argument that is Marvel vs DC.

If you’re a fan of superheroes, and the comic books that document their adventures, (like I am) these last few weeks have been nothing short of spectacular. We’ve seen DC/Warner Bros. unveil a slate that includes 10 new films to be released over the next 6 years:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder (2016)

Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer (2016)

Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot (2017)

Justice League Part One, directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)

The Flash, starring Ezra Miller (2018)

Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa (2018)

Shazam, (2019)

Justice League Part Two, directed by Zack Snyder (2019)

Cyborg, starring Ray Fisher (2020)

Green Lantern (2020)

When Marvel Studios’ plan to debut the first trailer for Avengers Age of Ultron during an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was spoiled by someone leaking it on the internet, they responded by releasing an official HD version online, then aired an extended version of the trailer on television with footage only previously shown in Hall H at SDCC this past July. Then they too unveiled their slate of films that will comprise Phase 3 of their MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) at a special media day that included a teaser for Avengers Infinity War:

May 6, 2016: Captain America: Civil War

November 4, 2016: Doctor Strange

May 5, 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy 2

July 28, 2017: Thor: Ragnarok

November 3, 2017: Black Panther

May 4, 2018: Avengers: Infinity War – Part I

July 6, 2018: Captain Marvel

November 2, 2018: Inhumans

May 3, 2019: Avengers: Infinity War – Part II

As I said, this is all nothing short of spectacular. We’re getting new solo films including Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel films, the first to be centered on female superheroes. We’re getting Cyborg and Black Panther solo films, the first to feature African American superheroes since the Blade movies that starred Wesley Snipes. We’re getting more Avengers movies and Justice League movies and ever-expanding movie universes from the big two of comic book publishing, all of which is cause for celebration.

Or, as some people insist on seeing it, an opportunity to turn Marvel and DC into a Xbox vs. Playstation, Apple vs. Android, Montague vs. Capulet, Hatfield vs. McCoy situation (take your pick). On message boards and Facebooks groups across the country gauntlets were cast down. I submit the following into evidence:

This is maybe the most pointless argument a geek could engage in, and yet it keeps happening again and again. There’s a chance it happens when any discussion of comic books comes up, but have an announcement made on a Marvel or DC property and it’s very nearly guaranteed. I honestly don’t know why it happens, but I want to talk about why it’s so ridiculous.

The Big Two aren’t even fighting

Let’s be clear about something. Marvel and DC aren’t in a fight. There is no feud between the two companies. They compete, but only insofar as all companies doing business in the same arena compete. Do Dodge and Chevrolet compete? Sure they do. Are they mortal enemies each out for the other’s blood? Don’t be ridiculous. In the same regard, Geoff Johns (Chief Creative Officer at DC) and Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios) aren’t going to get in a fistfight if they run into each other on the street. Hell, even though Johns works exclusively for DC now, he worked for Marvel Comics back in 2002, when he wrote Ultimate X-Men and The Avengers. Ed Brubaker, who is well-known for his Marvel work on Captain America and Daredevil, worked for DC writing various Batman-related comics including the amazing Gotham Central. Even the great Grant Morrison, known for his amazing work on Batman and Superman titles for DC worked for Marvel on the New X-Men series. I have no doubt that when Scott Snyder’s contract with DC is up, Marvel will be interested in bringing him in to work on anything he’d like, and I’m sure Snyder isn’t going to turn up his nose just because they’re Marvel.

You’re only Hurting Yourself with Publisher Loyalty

If writers aren’t concerned with publisher loyalty, why should you be as a reader? What does publisher loyalty get you? What is the incentive to only buy and read comic books from one publisher and not the other? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that if you’re only reading Marvel, you’ve been missing out on some amazing work on Batman from Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo, and a seminal run on Wonder Woman from Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang, just to name two examples. If you’re only reading DC and don’t care about Marvel, you’re missing out on yet another great run on Daredevil, this time by Mark Waid & Chris Samnee, amazing work on Hawkeye from Matt Fraction & David Aja, and a stellar (albeit brief) resurgence of Moon Knight by Warren Ellis & Declan Shalvey, as only a few examples.

And these are just currently running comic books! The simple fact is that if you’re going on message boards spouting opinions like “DC rocks marvel sucks!” or that “DC is committing a slow suicide”, know that you’re only depriving yourself of some amazing work from talented writers and artists working for both companies.

Whoever Wins, We Win

I would like you to scroll back to the top of this article and take another look at the lists of movies planned from the Big Two. There are nineteen movies planned between now and 2020. 19 comic book movies. NINETEEN movies featuring some of our favorite superheroes. Are you really hoping half of them fail? Who doesn’t want to see Jason freakin-Khal-Drogo Mamoa as Aquaman??? I know I want to see that. Yes the Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds was flawed, but I’m glad to see there’s another one planned, because there are some AMAZING stories to draw from in the source material. Just cast Idris Elba as John Stewart/GL and we’re on the right track. Jared Leto as the Joker (the latest DC movie casting rumor)? Yes please.

And how about Marvel Studios? Ragnarok and Civil War and Captain Marvel and OHGODAVENGERSINFINITYWAR

Ahem. Excuse me. Where was I? Well-written, well-made movies based on comic books, based on these superheroes we love, is a good thing. They’re something to be celebrated and supported, regardless of who’s making them. Who knows, maybe someday this “fight” will be “resolved” and we’ll get Amalgam Universe film adaptations. A Dark Claw movie anyone?