Madison Watkins, Staff Writer
With the recent release of Marvel’s latest film “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Justice League” coming out before Thanksgiving, now seems as good a time as any to finally discuss a topic that fans have been arguing over for decades. Which comic book company is better: Marvel or DC?
I’m going to go ahead and say that I have only read a handful of comics by each company so my argument will be settled around the media they have been putting out the past few decades, specifically movies and TV. Let’s start with movies.
For films, obviously it’s no contest: Marvel is the clear winner. This is considering all of the movies that both companies have put out. I’m not here to say that all DC movies are trash; this is coming from a person that has overall enjoyed the movies DC has put out since “Man of Steel”, and of course “The Dark Knight” trilogy was great, but would we really talk about them as much if “The Dark Knight” didn’t turn out so well? The first two Superman movies from the 70s were revolutionary for the genre. Their cartoon movies can either be really good or really bad (looking at you the “Killing Joke”.)
Marvel’s film history pre-cinematic universe is spotty depending on the person you’re talking to. I grew up watching the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, the X-Men films and Fantastic Four, and I still enjoy them to this day. Although, as I’ve grown up, I realized certain sequels of these movies were not up to par – you know the ones. Since then, they have certainly improved themselves. Sony made the right choice giving Spider-Man to Marvel, the Fantastic Four should just be left alone and the X-Men films have really been holding up with the recent trilogy led by a young Magneto and Professor X. What Fox did with “Deadpool”, “Logan”, and “Days of Future Past” will be pleasing fans for years to come.
I remember watching the first Iron Man movie when it came out and I had no idea what was in store. What Marvel has accomplished since then with their cinematic universe has been nothing short of remarkable. Sure, they have a few bad eggs here and there, but what franchise doesn’t? With the MCU they have changed the genre of comic book movies and movies in general by giving audiences a new way to enjoy film.
I will say that in terms of movies DC has one leg up over Marvel by not having their properties split up. It gets confusing trying to figure out which characters are owned by which company and it sucks that they can’t all interact together like they do in the comic books. If DC can win audiences with their future movies they may be able to accomplish something Marvel fans have been missing for years.
Now, onto the television aspect. This is again not a contest for me: DC is easily the winner. Marvel’s material is just not as good as DC’s, considering they have historical cartoon shows and the ‘Arrowverse’. Marvel gives them a bit of a run for their money in the cartoon field thanks to the X-Men show from the 90s, the Avengers shows and the multiple Spider-Man cartoons. However, I think the DC cartoons are a bit more favored. Shows such as “Batman: The Animated Series”, “Teen Titans”, and “Young Justice” have better overall stories and are generally more popular.
In terms of live action, it can be a coin toss depending on whom you ask. I personally think DC has the upper hand in this category as well. It has strong shows from the past and the present. It is easy to find reruns of shows like Adam West’s “Batman”, “Smallville”, or even “Wonder Woman” on TV nowadays. Apart from “The Incredible Hulk”, Marvel didn’t have much to offer in the past. One might argue now that Marvel is better on television thanks to their Netflix Defenders shows, but due to their mature content, they are not as accessible to fans as the Arrowverse shows are.
DC could accomplish on TV what Marvel did with movies. Starting with “Arrow”, they could gradually establish a well-structured universe for the characters to interact in. The variety of shows they have in this universe can also cater to the fans interests. If they want something dark, they can watch “Arrow”, but if they’d rather watch a show that’s more lighthearted – but isn’t afraid to get dramatic – they can watch “The Flash”. If they enjoy science-fiction and/or history, they would enjoy “Legends of Tomorrow”. Or, if they want something that blends all this together with a female lead, they can check out “Supergirl”, all while being able to enjoy the shows with their older kids. Or, if they don’t care about any of that stuff and want to watch something with Batman, “Gotham” is a pretty good option too.
Since Marvel cancelled “Agent Carter” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” faltered after its first season, Marvel has no competition to offer. With two more X-Men shows about to be on the air, it is unclear whether Marvel will be able to catch up to DC.
So, what is my final verdict? I have to say that it is a tie. We can go on and on about which company is better with the many forms of media they offer, but in my humble opinion, with Marvel having better movies and DC succeeding in television, there is no clear winner. They both have their own strengths and weaknesses that we can pick apart until the end of time. What we can all agree on is that Marvel and DC offer plenty of material for us to enjoy both. This is an extraordinary time to be a comic book fan, and we should spend less time having fanboy wars over which company is “superior” and more time enjoying this great amount of content we have. Because, at the end of the day, we all want the same things: to sit down, watch/read these great stories with our friends and family and find a nice place to discuss them.