DC vs. Marvel

I’ve been thinking a lot recently of the resurgence in comic book heroes over the past 20 years and how we are living in a golden age for comic nerds.  While there has always been good comic book movies and TV shows, it’s really skyrocketed over the past 20 years.  The Blade and X-Men movies, followed by the Spider-Man films seem to have been the tipping point.  So I thought I’d delve into things a bit deeper and see who’s done a better job overall, Marvel or DC.  I separated it into four categories Live Action and Animated TV and Live Action and Animated Movies.  I left out the source comic material, because well it’s just too much and would be worthy of a series of articles on it’s own, plus I simply don’t know enough about comics to speak with any sort of authority.  For brevity’s sake I refrained from listing every single sequel, and also skipped on some of the lesser known adventures.  There’s just too many Batmans and Spider Mans to list, especially when you get into the animated comics.  If you want the full list, please see the Wikipedia links at the bottom of the article.  As per usual with this sort of thing, opinions will vary, and I’m sure some of you will argue very valid points in the comments.  There’s so much material there’s no way I can cover it all, and I’m sure I’m missing or forgetting something.  Also, I’m a giant nerd, so get over it.

 


 

Animated TV

jlfounding

Batman TAS/Superman TAS/Justice League/Young Justice/Super Friends/Batman Beyond/Static Shock/Teen Titans/Green Lantern: The Animated Series

Spider-Man/X-Men/X-Men Evolution/Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H/Avengers Assemble/Guardians of the Galaxy/Ultimate Spider-Man

DC has really put a great effort into their animated series and is a testament to some of the amazing talent they’ve hired over the years.  (ie:Bruce Timm is a golden god.)  Batman TAS, Superman TAS, and Justice League are absolute classics.  It was a crime that Young Justice was cancelled.  (They apparently didn’t sell enough toys.)  Hell, Mark Hamill is now better known for his Joker voice than for any space movie.  I can’t even listen to any batman that isn’t Kevin Conroy.

Marvel has done some decent things in the animated realm, the 90’s X-Men in particular was awesome, but have really fallen off as of late.  The new Avengers and Hulk series just aren’t getting it done.  (I haven’t seen the Guardians of the Galaxy series, but I hear it’s pretty good.)  We need a new X-Men and Spider-Man series, but it seems Marvel’s focus is on live action at the moment.

Winner: DC

 


 

 

Animated Movies

justice-league-crisis-on-two-earths-out-todayJustice League: The Flashpoint Paradox/JL Crisis on Two Earths/JL War/JL Doom/Batman:Under the Red Hood/JL Gods and Monsters/JL Throne of Atlantis/Superman-Batman: Apocalypse/Superman: Doomsday/All Star Superman/Batman Gotham Knight/Batman vs. Robin/ Son of Batman

Hulk Vs/Ultimate Avengers/Ultimate Avengers 2/Big Hero 6/Thor: Tales of Asgard/Planet Hulk/Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher

DC has laid out some fantastic films, built from the ground of it’s very successful animated TV series.

Marvel throws out an animated movie on occasion, and when it does, it’s rarely memorable.

Winner: DC

 


 

Live Action TV

smallville-season9-promoArrow/Flash/Supergirl/Batman/Lois & Clark/Smallville/Gotham/iZombie/

Jessica Jones/Agents of Shield/Daredevil/Agent Carter/Luke Cage/Iron Fist/The Defenders

DC started out really strong with the old Batman and Lois & Clark series, then came along Smallville everything changed.  Comics were brought back to the small screen in a big time way.  It birthed the likes of shows like Arrow, Flash, Gotham, and Supergirl.  iZombie is actually very good and underappreciated and I highly recommend you check it out on Netflix.

Marvel came to the party late, but really came out swinging.  Daredevil and Jessica Jones were big hits that were allowed to thrive as Netflix exclusives.  Being on a unregulated network allowed for the producers to delve into darker and more generally adult content.  Agents of Shield ties into the shared Marvel universe, (especially the Captain America movies) brilliantly and adds additional depth to the series.

Winner: Push  Both are incredibly popular and successful at the moment, and for different reasons.  They have proven we want more daily super heroes, and they don’t always have to be the biggest names.  I honestly can’t pick one over the other.

 


 

Live Action Movies

deadpool-dmc_2670_v068_matte-1045_rgb_wide-1a6509acc4d6759a0ae466905cc75396e151b233-s900-c85Batman/Superman/Catwoman/Constantine/The Dark Knight/Watchmen/Green Lantern/Man of Steel/Batman v Superman/Suicide Squad/Wonder Woman/Justice League pt 1/Flash/Aquaman/Shazam/Cyborg

Howard The Duck/Blade/X-Men/Hulk/Spider-Man/Fantastic Four/Ghost Rider/Iron Man/Punisher/Thor/Elektra/Daredevil/Captain America/The Wolverine/Guardians of the Galaxy/Avengers/Ant-Man/Deadpool/Doctor Strange/Black Panther

DC has slipped of late.  They still can’t manage to make a quality Superman movie, and with the exception of the second Dark Knight movie, really hasn’t done that great in it’s Batman series.  We are still awaiting our first Wonder Woman movie (Seriously, why did this take so damn long), Flash, Shazam,Cyborg are all on the horizon, so hopefully they will turn the page here, but for now, most of DC’s best work is in the past.  I don’t really know what to make of Suicide Squad, but I do not have high hopes.

Marvel has revolutionized the super hero movie business over the past 18 years.  It started with X-Men and Blade, then expanded to each of their individual franchises, ultimately culminating into the Avengers team-ups.  Every year they surprise us with another hit movie that no one expected.  Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy are just the latest in a string of bigger than expected hits.  Sure they have had their share of bombs (Why they can’t make a decent Fantastic Four movie is beyond me), but more often than not Marvel is pumping out hit after hit after hit.

Winner: Marvel  Again, this category comes down to personal preference, but Marvel simply has done more over the past 20 years or so.  They had a multi-phased plan that started 8 years ago and have executed it flawlessly.  DC at this point is simply playing catch-up, and is not doing a particularly great job of it.


 

 

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_television_series_based_on_DC_Comics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_television_series_based_on_Marvel_Comics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_based_on_DC_Comics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_based_on_Marvel_Comics

 

62 thoughts on “DC vs. Marvel

  1. Live Action Movies

    While I agree it’s Marvel > DC, I didn’t realize how much closer it was than I originally thought because of Nolan’s and Burton’s Batman/Watchmen vs anything Marvel has put out. I’ll probably go see Batman v Superman only because the wife and kids will be away, but it’s not like I’m looking forward to it like I was with Deadpool.

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        • I dont get people*, you complain about a comic if it doesn’t follow the source material, and then you complain if it follows it too closely. Make up your minds!

          *of course I understand, it’s why I hate everyone.

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        • Turning Watchmen into a movie was just a bad idea in the first place. Too much stuff to pack into too short a time frame. It might have worked as a two-parter, but I reckon we’ll never know.

          Jackie Earl Haley did a damn good job as Rorschach, but that’s about all that can be said for that.

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        • I think generally when it comes to following source material, you have to pick and choose, but you have to be careful not to leave out key information. Think Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter for successful methods of following source material without bogging down too much in the details.

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      • 5 Batman movies? There’s 5 good Batman movies?

        Nolan’s trilogy is 3 of them. The first Burton Batman was fine at the time, but it doesn’t hold up AT ALL these days.

        What’s the 5th? Certainly not the Bat-Nipples one….

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        • Nolan trilogy, and then Batman and Batman Returns when you judge them against when they came out. My point was DC movies have absolutely nothing on Marvel, even if you exclude X-Men/Spider-Man.

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        • Eh, I didn’t like Batman Returns when it came out, but definitely agreed on that overall point. DC crushes the animated share of the market but they just can’t seem to get the live-action part to work, especially in the movies…and vice versa for Marvel (the Ultron movie was wildly underwhelming, but they’re allowed a mulligan from time to time).

          The only Batman movie I would personally consider as “great” has really very little to do with Batman and everything to do with Ledger’s performance as Joker.

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        • Agreed. I tend to think TDKR gets more shit than it deserves, but it definitely falls more in the enjoyable category than the incredible category. If you’re making a list of best comic book movies, TDK is the only DC film you’re really even considering.

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        • It gets shit because I can’t think of anyone that wasn’t doing an impression of that Bane voice. That voice was so cartoonish and unnecessary, and that cartoonishness was a significant departure from the more grounded and “realistic” tone that the first two movies established. A different voice for him could have changed the entire complexion of that movie.

          Now I kinda want to rewatch those three Batman movies and the Iron Man movies….because off the top of my head, I’m having a hard time figuring out which of those powerless-millionaires-with-toys trilogies is better. My instinct is that Iron Man 1 is better than Batman Begins…TDK obviously crushes Iron Man 2, and is surely the best movie in both sets. I don’t even really remember Iron Man 3 much at all, which probably isn’t a good sign for it.

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      • What was wrong with Watchmen (outside the awful Silk Spectre/Night Owl sex scene) besides changing the ending? I thought it was as close to the source material as it could be considering time constraints.

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        • I think you answered your own question. It was incredibly compressed, and that really hurt the film. They didn’t develop the tone properly, the sense of impending doom. There were too many writers involved and the characters came across like caricatures.

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        • I’ve got the extended cut of the movie, the one with all the Black Freighter segments woven into the movie the way they are in the comic. One of these days, I’ll find the 3.5 hours to sit down and watch that version. Maybe that will make it a little better.

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        • If you need the director’s cut for the film to make sense, that doesn’t let the movie off the hook. I’ve heard they cut a bunch of stuff out of Age of Ultron explaining what’s going on with Thor’s story line, and I’d love to see it, but that missing material doesn’t get counted toward’s how good AoU was.

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    • I was fortunate, sort of, that my father was the insurance agent to the celebrities of his era. One of them was Bob Kane, the artist who created Batman. Kane used to spend summer weekends at Tamarack Lodge in the mountains near Ellenville, New York, where we had a summer bungalow every year (think the bungalow colony in Dirty Dancing for an approximation). He had a daughter about my age (around 9 or ten at the time) that he and dad introduced me to, not by way of one of those medieval betrothals but just, you know, hoping we’d get along and go play on the swings and leave them alone to play bridge. I asked her to go frog hunting with me. She gave me a weird look.

      That’s as far as we ever got.

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        • Can’t comment on that since I never read much Batman (or any other superhero comics) anyway – always thought the whole idea of it was kinda silly, Finger or no. Anyway, there was no future in it for me and his daughter – any girl who pulled a lemonpuss when kindly invited to go frog hunting wasn’t my type (I mean, what I could have taught her – I had moves so quick and sure that the frog never had time to expectorate half a ribbit! before I had him).

          I just remember Kane as having been a genial fella who didn’t patronize kids. He once gave me an autograph in my sketch pad with a drawing of Batman that would have funded my retirement if I’d kept it and auctioned it orf at Christie’s. Ah well.

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  2. I don’t think that the movie segment is a question of Mavel vs DC, but a question of Mavel Studios vs. Fox vs Warner Bros vs Sony vs Lionsgate. Marvel Studio wins by a large margin, followed by Warner Bros, followed by Sony, followed by Fox with Lionsgate being the big looser (and thankfully now out of the game since all the rights reverted back to marvel).

    And concerning the animated movie segment, Disney/Pixar wins. They did The Incredibles and Big Hero 6, easily the best animated Superhero movies out there. Warner bros comes in second, with Mask of the Phantasm and arguably The Iron Giant…the rest is mostly direct-to-video trash.

    Otherwise I agree. Marvel’s animated shows are too kiddified to be truly good, while DC has defined this segment. And concerning TV, well, that’s a matter of taste. I prefer Marvel’s more diverse offerings over DC’s CW-verse, but both do what they try to do very well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The biggest thing the Marvel and DC comics did for me was to open me up to the world of independently-published comics. I’ve been reading Walking Dead since 2004 and after 150+ issues it’s still going damn strong (I hear the TV show adaptation is rather popular too). Invincible, East Of West, God Is Dead, Bone…tons of good shit out there. And because the writers actually own their characters, the story sticks. You don’t have silly things like Batman “dying” just to come back a year later or fistfuls of alternate universes.

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  4. Oh boy, you did it now 😉

    I’m primarily a Marvel fan, so I’m biased. However, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Green Lantern. Go ahead and mock. I don’t care.

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        • I’m a Marvel guy as well. Too much of that Spiderman sarcasm and jokery in my non-radioactive blood.

          That said…when my sister said she was trying to get her daughter into comic book stuff…I ended up buying her a Batgirl toy. I know there’s plenty of good female characters in the Marvel universe, but none are as iconic as Batgirl or Wonder Woman.

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        • As a child, I preferred DC. The Superman movies? I and II–I re-watched the shit out of those. I could recite dialogue. I really loved General Zod and Ursa in II.

          General Zod: He cares. He actually cares for these Earth people.
          Ursa: Like pets?
          General Zod: I suppose.
          Ursa: Sentimental idiot!
          That’s sort of how I feel about people, heh. My pets. It’s a simpler world.

          When my girl told me “boys always rescue the girl”, I put on 1970s Wonder Woman, stupid sexist costume aside, because I knew the violence was not awful and she would like a pretty girl kicking butt. It backfired though. My 4 year old son REALLY LIKES HER.

          As an adult, Marvel’s darkness and nuance is much more appealing. There is no contest for me now.

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        • I would agree, except DC just simply nails the shit out of the animated tv shows. Watch in the following order: Batman TAS, Batman Gotham Knights, Superman TAS, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Young Justice. Even as an adult, I can’t get enough of these shows. While they are family friendly, much of the newer shows have a lot of subtle adult asides and jokes to them.

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        • There are really only three characters with a respectable collection of specific villains. Batman, Flash, and Spiderman. Flash’s and Spiderman’s are pretty close to a toss up…but Joker by himself puts Batman all alone at the top.

          Does anyone keep up with the Injustice comics? Where Joker gets “bored” with Batman and decides to go fuck with Superman? It’s a more stripped-down comic, but it’s not too bad.

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        • I’m worried it’s more deeper rooted than that. I’m worried the poor casting is due to the writers and director not understanding any of the characters at all and simply trying to cash out on a name and trying to make the movie “edgy” or “goth” or whatthefuckever they are trying to do.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Agreed on the superior Batman villains. Too many of the MCU heroes have villains who just mirror their abilities. Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, Winter Soldier, and Ant-Man all have villains with very similar talents. Only Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron really had differentiated villains, and one could argue Ultron and the Vision being very similar.

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        • I think they mirror each other because the power creep in the Marvel Universe has become absurd (not to mention the constant retconning) that no one would ever lose. Supposedly Cable is going to be in Deadpool 2, a guy that can time travel, teleport, magically create weapons out of thin air, oh and is powerful enough to hold his own against Apocalypse who’s going to take the entire X-Men to fight against. That’s not to mention Nate Grey, or <a href=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanos”>Thanos whose been teased in almost every movie, or god forbid they go down the Dark Phoenix saga with Jean Grey.

          I mean Lee/Kirby must have been drunk:

          Lee: This guy can teleport
          Kirby: Yeah well this guy can teleport AND move things with his mind
          Lee: Oh yeah, well this guy can do that AND has super strength
          Kirby: Well what about a guy who has telekinesis, teleportation, super strength, and he can fly?

          and on and on and on

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        • The Fantastic Four has a pretty impressive roster of villains. Dr Doom, Annihilus, the Skrulls, Galactus and his heralds. You could even count Namor in there.

          I think it generally boils down to who is using the characters in question. The Charleston characters Alan Moore used for Watchmen and the Miracle-Man characters he revamped were almost universally terrible, but Moore and his collaborators were able to make them interesting.

          Whereas, Rob Liefeld could take any character and make them suck.

          This article with the 40 worst Rob Liefeld drawings is so great. Although viewing this much tortured anatomy in one sitting can be disorienting.

          http://www.progressiveboink.com/2012/4/21/2960508/worst-rob-liefeld-drawings

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  5. I would say the best superhero movies have been Iron Man I and the Captain America films. I liked Nolan’s Batman movies, but some things really rubbed me wrong, especially in the last one. The Bat Growl was so unnecessary. I’m sure Bale tried different approaches to the character, but that voice just seemed really silly a lot of the time. The less said about Bane’s voice, the better. The scene that really bugged me the most was when all the cops in Gotham decide they’re going to walk through a hail of gunfire to take on the criminals hand to hand – which they do, instead of simply being cut to ribbons.

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  6. I’m reminded of the older movies based on Steven King’s novels. Sooner or later one had to suspend disbelief as the shitstorm started. Same for comic book movies. That said, being old school, I have to give a Fan-Interference mention to the original Batman on TV, followed by Green Hornet (Co-Star: Bruce Lee as Kato!!) and in the 70’s by The Amazing Spider Man and Wonder Woman.

    Wonder Woman was my coming of age love affair. I still remember the LA Times TV Fall Preview that said, “Only two thins are keeping Wonder Woman on the air and they also hold up Lynda Carter’s costume.” Damn right they were, the 60’s and 70’s were the REAL golden age of superheros.

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  7. Now this is a Batman movie I can get on board with…

    As much as Kevin Conroy has become one of the definitive Batman’s with his outstanding voice work…Will Arnett does a pretty damn good job of voicing the Lego version of the character.

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