Currently, the entertainment industry is in Comicbook Superhero age. Whether, it is live-action movies, animated movies or TV shows, comicbook based entertainment is a sure thing nowadays. With this huge market in comicbook based entertainment, two of the greatest comicbook companies, DC Comics and Marvel Comics are its greatest players. So, obviously, there exists a rivalry between them and it has been given fuel in current huge public interest in both of their respective properties. So, DC VS Marvel is talked about thing these days. Some fans prefer one universe and its characters while others are partial to other. With current modern day technology of film-making, it is easier than ever to bring comicbook worlds to screens. So, with that in mind, lets analyze the history and compare both of these companies against one other in every format and see who comes out on top.
A BRIEF HISTORY:
DC COMICS :
DC Comics began with National Comics, founded by Malcolm-Wheeler-Nicholson in 1934 and started publishing tabloid sized comicbook stories. Superman entered the scene as one of their earliest and most famous character in 1937 and in 1939, they introduced the world to Batman in their comicbook named “Detective Comics”. From here DC roster grew stronger with characters like Flash and Green Lantern etc and also their first team “Justice Society of America” and flourished in golden age of comics during world war 2 and post WW2.
With popularity in “Detective Comics” series, national comics started putting DC logo on their comicbooks and in 1977, the company officially became “DC Comics” as we know it today.
In 2011, DC rebranded their entire universe in “New 52 Series” to make the characters young and appealing to younger audience and attract more readers.
Marvel Comics began their life in 1939 as “Timely Comics”. In 1941, Captain America entered the scenery of their comicbooks named “Marvel Comics” along with Human Torch.
In 1950s, Timely Comics faced an uphill battle for popularity as superheroes were going out of fashion, so it turned to different characters including spies and even funny animals.
However, in 19 60s, and superheroes were back in popularity. Marvel introduced the Fantastic Four, which was unlike anything seen in the comic book industry before.
By 1973, the now legendary Stan Lee had taken over as editor at Marvel. While Lee’s success is undeniable, not everything he touched turned to gold; it was under Lee that the character of Captain Britain was introduced, who clearly didn’t succeed like his friend across the pond did. Lee was also no stranger to controversy, pushing ahead with a Spider-Man storyline about drug abuse that lacked approval by the Comic Code Authority. Painting drug use in a bad light, the story succeeded and the authority rethought their approach to such subjects.
An industry slump in the 1990s led Marvel to file for bankruptcy and change their tactics. New products like trading cards became vital to staying alive, and in 1992 Marvel Studios was created to focus on film and TV. Needless to say, the studio helped Marvel escape bankruptcy and led them to a new era of success in the 2000s to where we are today!
Comparison in ComicBooks:
In comicbooks, sometimes DC has upper hand and sometimes Marvel. It is a tug of war. However, in recent times Marvel is going stronger over DC but that is not set in stone either.
Throughout the entire history of comics, DC is considered as kind of godfather, as majority of Marvel characters are inspired by DC Characters which is due to the fact that DC came earlier. Also, DC has stayed strong in comics sales most of the time in their respective history. So, in comicbooks, its a win for DC.
Comparison in Animated Movies:
In animation, DC VS Marvel rivalry is not that of interest to general public as it is in movies and TV shows.
Marvel’s theatrically released animated Movies are:
- Big Hero Six (Rotten Tomato score 89%)
- Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse (Rotten Tomato Score 97%
Apart from these, Marvel has released a lot of straight-to-video films like Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2, Planet Hulk, Thor: Tales of Asgard, Hulk Vs. and Marvel Superheroes adventure etc.
Among these, Hulk Vs. and two theatrically released films are considered to be the best. Big Hero Six also won an oscar. Its other animated films and series are also loved by fans but not as much as these three.
DC has the upperhand in animation. Among top 10 best animated movies from DC VS Marvel, nine of them are from DC and only one “Big Hero Six” is from Marvel Comics.
DC regularly releases high quality straight-to-video animated movies like Batman: Hush, Batman: Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and 2, Batman: Assault on Arkham, Wonder Woman and many more.
On TV front, DC also the upper hand in animation. Its animated series like Batman Beyond and Teen Titans Series is loved by fans all over the world.
So, its another win for DC in DC VS Marvel battle.
In 20th Century, both Marvel and DC were shy to have expensive TV shows. Because TV shows were not at level in terms of quality and funding as they are now. However, still Marvel had Hulk TV show and DC had Wonderwoman and also before that campy Batman show starring Adam West as titular hero. So, in that era, the rivalry on TV front was not that much of a big deal.
However, in early 2000s, DC launched its show SmallVille that focused on young Superman living in farm in Texas and it was a huge hit with critics and fans. However, DC’s biggest accomplishment came in 2012 when they premiered “Arrow” TV show on CW channel which was praised unanimously and then later it also spawned its universe like MCU with shows like Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl and the newcomer Batwoman in 2019.
Also, on its own streaming service named “DC Universe” DC launched Titans, Doom Patrol and Swamp Thing (later cancelled) which are also praised by critics and fans.
So, on live-action TV front DC is strong.
Marvel initially had nothing to compete with DC TV shows. It was focusing its energies on movies from MCU. However, Marvel made an agreement with Netflix and under Netflix banner they lauched its own TV shows that included Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Defenders. First three were universally praised by both critics and fans but Iron Fist were hated and disliked. Their most ambitious project was Defenders and it did not fare well either as Marvel and Netflix would have hoped. So, Marvel cancelled its deal with Netflix and cancelled all these shows.
However, with Disney+ streaming service launching in 2019, Marvel has announced a couple of shows that will premier in 2020 and beyond that include characters from MCU movies like WandaVision, Hawkeye, Loki and “Captain America and Winter Soldier”. So, we will see how good are they.
Disney+ shows are still to be seen. So, that gives DC a huge win in TV shows as far now. So, thats another win for DC in DC VS Marvel rivalry.
Movies is the place where the DC VS Marvel rivalry really comes to life.
First movie to be based on DC Comics characters was “Superman and the mole men” back in 1951. However, their movies truly flourished with audience with their deal with Warner Bros. Studio which began with Superman (1978) and then Superman II (1980) which won 1 oscar and were nominated for 3 more. After that Supergirl movie in 1984 failed to capitalize in the newfound interest of movie-goers in superheroes. However, in 1989 Tim Burton’s Batman film made history in superhero movies which was widely praised by critics and audience alike. It spawned 3 sequels including Batman Returns and then Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. However, Batman and Robin was so awful that it nearly stopped DC from making movies.
The rebirth of DC movies came in 2005 with the release of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. It was loved by critics and fans. In 2008, came the sequel to Batman Begins, titled “The Dark Knight” which still holds the highest ratings among all superhero movies on IMDB and is still widely considered to best superhero movie ever. Also, Superman Returns premiered in 2006 and also Watchmen film in 2009. Nolan’s saga concluded in 2012 with “Dark Knight Rises”.
After, this DC tried to make a connected universe of movies like marvel did with MCU. DC tried first with Green Lantern movie in 2010 which failed miserably. In 2013, DC and Warner Bros. released Man of Steel that marked the beginning of DC’s connected universe. It was followed by “Batman VS Superman” in 2016 and then “Suicide Squad” the same year. However, both of these failed to connect with fans and audience alike. In 2017, DC released Wonder Woman that wowed fans and critics alike. However, that victory was shortlived as next they released “Justice League” the same year and it failed again. So, DC decided to take their time and stepped back from connected universe and focused on standalone experience. This move was fruitful that next year in 2018, they released “Aquaman” which grossed over a billion at box office and then in April 2019, “Shazam!” was released which also loved by fans and critics. October 4 will see release of “Joker”, whose reviews are already hugely positive, so its another win for DC movies.
So, DC is focusing as of now on individual standalone experiences each with its own unique flavour.
Marvel struggled with making good quality movies in 20th century. It sold rights to its most famous characters like Spiderman and X-Men etc to other studios in 1990s to avoid going bankrupt.
Early 2000s saw marvel movies like Saim Rami’s Spiderman Trilogy that died with Spiderman 3 in 2007, among which Spiderman 2 is considered to be one best superhero movies. Sony relauched Spiderman Franchise in 2012 with “Amazing Spiderman” and that series died with “The Amazing Spiderman 2”.
However, in 2008, Marvel started the concept of cinematic connected universe and released Ironman. Ironman was loved by fans and critics alike and it marked the beginning of MCU (marvel cinematic universe). They released a couple of origin stories like Captain America: The first avenger, Thor etc and in 2012 they released “The Avengers”. This marked something special in superhero movies as joined all the heroes and it was dream-come-true for fans. It grossed over a billiion and then Marvel movies became a sure thing for success. In 2019, MCU released “Avengers: Endgame” which grossed 2.8 billions on box-office and became the most successful movie of all time in terms of box-office numbers. DC tried to replicate this formula but failed. Nowadays, it is normal for a Marvel MCU movie to make more than 1 billion dollars.
So, in Movies, Marvel is the clear winner if box-office numbers are to be considered. However, DC offers maturity and variation in its movies with its standalone experiences while Marvel makes crowd-pleasing, money-making movies regularly.
So, who is the real winner? Well, if numbers are to be considered Marvel wins in Movies and Comicbooks (slightly) while DC is clear winner in TV shows and Animation. But it really depends on audience’s taste.
If you like crowd-pleasing, huge cinematic experiences filled with drama and also most notably comedy, Marvel is your place.
If you like deep, dark and grounded movies with drama and varying styles, DC is your place.
So, who is the winner in your opinion in DC VS Marvel rivalry?