Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to superheroes. One might prefer a superhero that can fly, but another might prefer a superhero that can control steel. Different preferences creates a battle between Marvel and DC, which takes place in the aisles of comic book stores and subconscious of comic fans for decades. Marvel is a comic company established in 1939 in New York City who collaborates with Disney since 2009. Since the 1960s, it has been one of the two largest American comics companies, along with DC Comics (“Marvel comics history and Marvel comics background”).
On the other hand, DC comics has started in 1935 in California, who later became a subsidiary of Warner Bro. in 1989(“ DC Comics”). However, Marvel is better than DC in many perspectives, including the fact that Marvel’s comics target positive themes whereas DC comics target negative themes, Marvel has a lager audience than DC and Marvel benefits from collaboration with other companies whereas DC is restricted by hierarchy. The themes of Marvel’s productions reflect an aspiring side, but the themes of DC’s comic sometimes reflect a dispirited aspect. DC characters are extremely dark whereas the growth environments of Marvel’s heroes are, in general, more positive. For instance, in the case of Batman, “As a young child, Bruce Wayne watched his parents murdered before his eyes.
Thomas and Martha Wayne were walking home with their son, when they were held up at gunpoint by a mugger who demanded the pearl necklace that Martha was wearing. When Dr. Wayne refused to surrender it, both he and Martha were shot dead in the streets” (“Batman (Bruce Wayne)”). This incident indicates reasons that create character traits like being cold and aloof towards others in Wayne’s character.
However, as one of the most famous roles in Marvel- Iron Man, grows up in a family which owns a prominent US firm, and graduates with 2 master’s degrees by aged of 19 from MIT. Thus, his character portrays confidence and audaciousness. Moreover, the darkness of these characters has even affected the actors playing these roles. For example, Heath Ledger who played the role of The Joker in DC comics was thought to have gone through a kind of depression because of the dark and tragic character that The Joker portrays (White). However, Robert Downey Jr.
ho played the role of Iron Man in Marvel’s comics overcame his troubled life after the release of Iron Man 1 and his career was enhanced significantly. From the perspective of DC’s fans, they find that their superheroes eventually grows gloomier, “ First it was Sad Batman. Then came Sad Superman. Then another shot of Sad Batman. Next, the world met Angry Wonder Woman.
The film looks more and more ridiculously dour” (Singer). In contrary, the movie reviews for Marvel’s movies are said to be “smart and funny retro thrills” (Brawshaw), which indicates that Marvel tends to create a positive and enjoyable atmosphere. Hence, as two of world’s largest comic and cartoon corporations, DC comics reflect negative themes and conversely, Marvel comics reflect positive themes. As one of the more famous producers of superhero comics, Marvel has wider market and is aimed at a larger audience than DC. According to John Lally’s article “Marvel vs DC: Here’s Solid Proof That The Ultimate Winner Is”, from 2005 to 2014, Marvel has 23 films whereas DC only has 10 films, which shows that Marvel has more materials for plays. Also, total gross of Marvel’s movies is approximately 2.
times as much as DC’s in addition of ten million of dollars more than DC’s box office per film on average (Lally). The difference between profits suggests Marvel’s movies consume larger audiences and more popularity. Graeme Virtue also mentions that in the list of top 100 best-selling titles, DC takes up 43 spaces whereas Marvel takes up 53 spaces (Graeme). These numbers show that even though the dominance of the big two publishers giants of comic industry are approximately equal, Marvel is leading the box office recent years. In the field of selling comic books, Marvel also dominates the book market. John Mayo has pointed out that “The estimated total sales for the 420 comics was 7,014,961 comics which is up by 324,637 units from November and up by 82,258 units from December 2012.
Marvel Comics had the largest percentage of the top 420 comics with 36. 32% of the total units sold followed by DC Comics with 33. 83%”(Mayo). Therefore by comparing the size of the audience, Marvel obviously exceeds that of DC. The popularity of Marvel comics is also does to the cooperation with companies like Disney, which help promote the sale performance. In addition, Warner Bros.
’s decisions delimitates the development of DC since DC is one of subsidiaries of Warner Bors. . Marvel as an independent company greatly benefits from the partnership with Disney, since Disney is considered as one of the strongest and most powerful brand in the world. People can walk into a Disney store and find many Marvel themed (toys, games, references) Even when visiting Disney Land, they can find exhibitions for Iron Man and Thor. The collaboration between Marvel and Disney brings conveniences to its fans, because Disney store can be seen in a lot of places, which also offers an incentive to the sale performance of Marvel.
Nevertheless, according to Gerber, DC as a company control by Warner Brothers, is “at the mercy of what Warner Bros. decides to do with its superhero franchises based on the studio’s business needs and goals”(Gerber), which triggers “DC has struggled to score hits with anyone but their big two: Batman and Superman”(). Since Warner Brother has many subsidiaries like DC, it can get profits from many parts such as Harry Pottery. Hence, remaining the parts of DC which have maximum profits is considered as a wise choice for Warner Bros. However, these decisions will prevent the development of DC, because DC now still struggles its “big two”, which will eventually leads to “aesthetic fatigue” for the audiences while Marvel is making less-known characters in the big screen.
Unlike DC, Marvel is able to take advantage of collaboration. In conclusion, Marvel has substantial advantages when compared with DC. Marvel comics reflect positive themes, whereas DC showcases negative themes that affects on people perspective of life. In addition, Marvel’s movies and comics are accepted by larger and more diverse audiences from different age gap, race, gender etc. . Moreover, Disney promotes the development of Marvel, in contrary, Warner Bros.
rigidly holds up the expansion of DC. Even though in some areas DC displays its strengths, its drawbacks however limit its development significantly allowing Marvel to easily dominate the future movie market along with comics.
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