Comparison of Marvel and DC

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Dragon Con 2013 - fans dressed as Power Girl and Ms. Marvel

Both Marvel and DC top the superhero comic book industry in terms of media production, financial success and fandom/popularity. Dominating their respective markets and genre, the two have rivaled one another in various forms of media and fandom for decades.

History of both franchises

Template:Expand section Marvel Comics is owned and published by Marvel Entertainment, the subsidiary division of The Walt Disney Company. It is currently headquartered in New York City. The origin of the franchise goes back to 1939 when it was founded by the popular pulp-magazine publisher Martin Goodman. The company was parent to several comic book publishing companies and went by the name Timely Comics. The debut publication of Marvel Comics was in October 1939 featuring the superheroes Human Torch and Namor. In the wake of World War II, military-themed heroes such as Captain America were added.[1] Entering the 1960s, the Marvel franchise published its characters and stories in the form of animated television series.

DC Comics is owned and published by DC Entertainment, the subsidiary division of Warner Bros., itself a division of Time Warner. Like Marvel, it too was headquartered in New York City until 2015 when it moved to Burbank, California in effort for Warner Bros. and DC to coordinate their priorities easily. It too consisted of several offspring companies. Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson founded National Allied Publications. October 1935 debuted major DC superhero Doctor Occult and 1938 saw the debut of Superman.[2] Also by the 1960s, DC too had extended several of its characters and stories into animated television series such as Super Friends.


Template:Expand section It has been argued that while DC started out with heroes of super-human abilities (Superman, Wonder Woman), Marvel tried to produce a sense of evolution of their characters into superheroes through probable means (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four), but later embarked upon producing heroes with more supernatural abilities such as Thor.[3]

Another difference between Marvel and DC, is that DC utilizes fictional locations for its heroes such as Metropolis (for Superman), Gotham City (for Batman), Central City (for The Flash) and Coast City (for the Green Lantern), whereas Marvel uses a real life location such as New York City for most of its heroes such as Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Defenders, Spider-Man, The Punisher, Moon Knight and other Marvel heroes.[no citations needed here]


Template:Expand section Some character types were created by both firms. An example is the Marvel superhero Namor (also known as Sub-Mariner) who is a superhero who lives in the sea, based in the fictional kingdom of Atlantis and is considered amphibious. The DC superhero Aquaman also hails from the fictional Kingdom of Atlantis and is also an amphibious character.[4]

Superhero organizations also share parallels such as Marvel's Avengers with DC's Justice League.[4] Another example is the X-Men (by Marvel) and Doom Patrol (by DC) as they are both superhero teams who are shunned by society and both are led by wheelchaired men (Professor X and Niles Caulder).[no citations needed here]

Cinematic rivalry

Template:Expand section Both franchises have brought their competition to film.[5][6] Unlike Marvel whose rights are split between the different companies (the X-Men and Fantastic Four at 20th Century Fox, Spider-Man at Sony Pictures albeit shared with Marvel Studios, and the solo Hulk distribution movie rights at Universal Pictures), DC has the film rights to every character they have created.

Theme parks

Template:Verify-section Both franchises have theme park attractions based around their respective characters. Universal Parks & Resorts was the first theme park operator to create Marvel-themed attractions when it constructed and built Marvel Super Hero Island at the Islands of Adventure (IOA) park in Orlando, Florida in the 1999's opening of the new park. Its fourth park, Universal Studios Japan, located in Osaka, Japan, also opened up the IOA-cloned The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride in 2004 and is currently the only Marvel attraction in the park. Since The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009, its subsidiary division Walt Disney Parks and Resorts also has Marvel attractions at Hong Kong Disneyland (e.g., Iron Man Experience) and Disney California Adventure (e.g., Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!) and plans to incorporate future ones in other Disney parks. IMG Worlds of Adventure, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates also contains Marvel-themed attractions.

The rights to Marvel properties regarding Disney and Universal is not, however, unlimited. According to the 1994 Marvel's licensed contract with Universal, Marvel characters that are already licensed at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Japan are barred from being used at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disney Resort parks since per contract, they are within the designated regional distances of these Universal parks. Characters associated with the said superheroes (e.g., team members, side characters, and villains) also cannot be employed and the word "Marvel" can't be promoted at any Disney park in Japan and United States East and West of the Mississippi River. However, due to Disney's acquisition of Marvel, Universal lost its theme park rights to Marvel properties in places it hasn't licensed yet.

Unlike Marvel, DC theme park rights is solely owned by Six Flags. Warner Bros. used to own the Six Flags theme parks, which corporate parent Time Warner sold to Premier Parks in 1998. As part of that deal, Time Warner also sold Premier (which then renamed itself "Six Flags") the long-term theme park rights to its comic and cartoon characters, including all DC and Looney Tunes characters.

Critique and commentaries

Template:Expand section Artist Ramona Fradon stated "You would never have to think of Superman be neurotic or have doubts or anxieties or anything like that. That was true of all the DC characters. What was different about Marvel compared to DC was like Greek drama the gods were in their heavens, unquestioned, and then Euripides came along and decided to analyze them and, you know, make them more human and bring them down to, you know, a human level and I think that's what Marvel did with the superheroes. And maybe it was time. You know, you can't have those characters running around forever without beginning to wonder what they did, you know, in their off-hours".[7]

Senior vice president of Marvel comics Cort Lane also shares the same sentiment stating “Marvel characters are less iconic and more just like you. They have flaws, they have a sense of humor and they have relatable problems. Every Spider-Man character is a relatable character. And Tony Stark, while wholly problematic by every definition, is still a lovable character." By contrast, he argues “DC operates on a different level — and that’s not to say it’s bad. What all the movies and the media have shown us over the years is that mining the flaws and reliability — and mining through those threats — to try and find a personal moment people can relate to is what registers. It’s pure. A great Marvel story is about caring about the character in the costume, not the other way around.”[8]


See also




External links

Template:Marvel Comics