Marvel and DC Comics have not only become one of the most popular brands in the world, but the Marvel vs DC debate has become probably the most famous debate in the action hero movie sphere. These two fictional universes have featured thousands of different characters, stories, and worlds to explore. In this article, we will be settling this debate once and for all (in our opinion of course), which franchise is better Marvel Comics, or DC Comics. It's a tall ask but we'll try.
Round 1 - Superheroes
The unique selling point of these mega comic books are the Superheroes they have brought to life in print. DC Comics have been around since the early 1930s and have come to have some of the most iconic superheroes of our time, including Superman, a superhuman alien that crash landed on Planet Earth and takes it upon himself to become the world's saviour. Batman a millionaire and philanthropist by day and a crime fighting bat by night (or whenever a bad guy needs to get taken down), brutally stamping out crime across a fictional metropolis called Gotham City, and then we have Wonder Woman, an Amazonian warrior who is based on Greek Mythology and is sent to Earth to fight for the ‘Good Guys' in World War 2.
Those are just a few of the most famous names but there are others that DC has to offer, such as The Flash, a man who can run at superspeed, and Green Lantern, an outer space galactic warrior whose special ring that can make any object he wants, and Aquaman, the king of the underwater world, Atlantis.
In the other corner we have Marvel who started back in the 1960s, so they are younger than DC but not by much and age is just a number - lol. Marvel has a load of famous superheroes, their most popular one being Spiderman, a teenager who gets bitten by a radioactive spider, that bestows special super-power abilities of a human-sized spider, and naturally feels obliged to use these new strengths to fight crime.
Captain America, is a superhuman soldier whose claim to fame is fighting in World War 2 against the Nazis. Iron Man, a tech billionaire who makes an iron suit to fight terrorists across the world. Hulk a doctor who quite explosively transforms into a green angry beast when he gets angry, and The X-men a super powered team of mutants that have extradentary powers, but are considered outcasts to the world.
Marvel has a load of other superheroes to get invested into such as Thor a Norse-god, Deadpool a more comedic adult rated superhero, and The Punisher who is an angry vigilante out for justice for the people who murdered his family – revenge is sweet!
As much as DC has a lot of superheroes to follow, due to their reliance on the popularity of Batman in their stories, and expanding on him the most, I believe Marvel takes this round for having more popular superheroes, and more fleshed out characters to follow and be invested in.
Round 1 (Superheroes) Winner - Marvel
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Lego superhero toys are a big hit with both Lego and Superhero fans. This is a winning combination the franchises.
Round 2 - Sidekicks
As powerful and as smart as superheroes are, they do sometimes need some help with ridding the world of scum, cue the sidekicks. DC invests heavily in their superhero sidekicks. A case in point is the four different incarnations of Robin, Batman's wingman, each with a unique and different backstory. There is also the Batgirl, Kyptonian sidekicks like Superdog, Superboy, and Supergirl, Wonder Girl, Aqaulad, Kid Flash, and many others.
Marvel superheroes mostly prefer to fly solo, but they do still have a few sidekicks such as Bucky Barnes, Captain America's sidekick, and War Machine, Iron Man's thorn in the side sidekick. Marvel tends to focus on superheroes working together or by themselves, whereas DC tends to explore deeper into their sidekicks with their own stories. DC takes this round by a long shot.
Round 2 (Sidekicks) Winner - DC
Round 3 - Supervillains
You know what they say, a hero is only as good as the villain he or she is up against. Both comic book franchises have managed to make some very intriguing and deadly foes for our superheroes to follow, and their relationship to each other has always been a unique selling point of these characters.
DC has many popular supervillains and very varied from one another, you have conquerors such as Darkseid, and Brainac. Greedy tycoons such as Lex Luthor, and Maxwell Lord. Tragic villains such as Mister Freeze, and Two Face. Extremist villains such as Ras Al Ghul, and psychopathic villains like the Reverse Flash, Victor Zssaz and Joker.
These supervillains are always fun to watch, and sometimes they play the hero on the odd occasions. The relationships that both the superheroes and supervillains have with each other is always fun to explore, such as Superman/Lex Luthor, The Flash, and Reverse Flash. However, the one supervillain that stands out from the rest is The Joker, who is the arch nemesis of Batman, and is the exact opposite to Batman, and only has one intention. Cause chaos, and make Batman break his one rule, no killing.
Marvel too has a lot of supervillains to be invested in, and very varied, just like their DC rivals. They have conquerors like Dr Doom, Thanos, Red Skull, and Apoyalcse. Tragic villains such as Magneto, and Loki.
The Marvel superhero with the most foes is Spiderman who can count among his enemy list, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Venom, and many other villains, whereas most of the Marvel Superheroes such as the X-Men and Avengers tend to take on factions of villains more so like the Brotherhood of shadow in X-Men, the sinister six in Spiderman, and Hydra in Captain America and the Avengers. Unlike DC who tends to focus more on one individual villain themselves.
Again DC wins this category for having more fleshed out villains that are explored by their backstory, and the relationship with their characters, unlike Marvel who tend to take on multiple villains as part of the same faction.
Round 3 (Supervillans) Winner - DC
Box office sales have generated tremendous income for both Marvel and DC. Spider-Man: Far From Home and The Dark Knight Rises both grossed over £1 billion in box office sales.
Round 4 - Superhero teams
Superheroes coming together to form a big team has always been a real treat for comic book fans. Both DC and Marvel are known to have a tone of different superhero teams when one threat is too much for one hero to take on.
DC has the Justice League, which consists of big names such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and The Flash. Along with other superhero teams like Teen Titans, a group of sidekicks who have come together, Birds Of Prey, and many others.
Marvel on the other hand have a heavy sprinkling if superhero teams also. They have the classic avengers which feature Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, and they also have the Guardians Of Galaxy who are a team of outlaws in space, not to mention the X-Men who is one of Marvels biggest unique sellers, and probably their most popular superhero team. The relationships between Marvel's superhero team members are explored better than DC's superhero teams, so Marvel wins this category.
Round 4 (Superhero Teams) Winner - Marvel
Round 5 - Comic Books
Which brand has the better Comic Books? Both Marvel and DC have made some amazing comic books, with thrilling and entertaining stories to follow. Among some of the DC comic book storylines there is Batman: Under The Red Hood, The Killing Joke, Death of Superman, and many others.
However a big drawback of DC is they tend to focus and rely on Batman a bit too much, even in the Justice League comics. As amazing as Batman's stories are, which in my opinion are probably the best DC has to offer, other heroes have not really been given time to shine on their own or save the day, unlike Batman has.
Marvel has had a lot of good comic books such as The Civil War saga, X-Men Days Of Future Past, Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe and the Infinity War saga. Marvel also has the tales of suspense comic books, and crossovers with the Avengers, and X-Men. I think Marvel wins this round on comic books for investing in all their superheroes unlike DC whose main focus is Batman.
Round 5 (Comic Books) Winner - Marvel
Both franchises are represented well in the huge videogames marketplace, which is worth an eye-watering £90 billion a year.
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Round 6 - Movies
Marvel and DC films have become a big part of modern day culture. Everyone you know has watched at least one Marvel or DC film, even if they've been dragged to the cinema kicking and screaming by their kids. Their films are very different from one and another. Warner Bros are the makers of DC films, whereas Disney makes films for Marvel.
DC tends to go for a more mature and darker theme to their characters on the Big screen. Films such as The Dark Knight Trilogy, Watchmen, Joker, and Batman vs Superman to a lesser extent, tend to follow this darker mature themed superhero movie.
However DC do occasionally make a film with some comedic moments and more kid-friendly such as Shazam, Superman 1978, and Wonder Woman.
Marvel on the other hand go for a more light-hearted approach to their film universes such as The entire MCU films, the Sony Spiderman trilogy, and X-Men, but they do have the odd film that is dark and targeted more at adults like Logan, Deadpool 1 and 2, and The Punisher.
Like comic books, DC movies tend to focus on more solo outings to their characters, an example of this are movies like the Dark Knight trilogy which primarily focuses on Batman and his rogue's galleries, you won't be seeing any appearance, or even mention an Easter egg of other DC superheroes like Superman, and the Joker solo movie that came out last year starring Joaquin Phoneix.
DC does have their own extended universe called the DCEU with films like Man Of Steel, Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad, Justice League, Wonder Woman, Shazam, and Aquaman. However a lot of movies in the DCEU have had a mixed reception and have not been received the best and they have had to do reboots and recasts of many characters and have decided instead of doing one massive universe, DC will focus on many extended universes.
Marvel does have solo film universes such as the Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield's Spiderman films, and the X-Men films. However, as much as these films are critically acclaimed and loved by others around the world, where Marvel has proven to shine with films is with its film universe called the MCU.
The MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) features mega characters such as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and we get to follow their stories and sometimes even see them team up or fight each other on one or more occasions. The MCU films have always been fun to watch and follow, and you do really grow to care for the characters that feature in this extended universe, and it does feel like a genuine comic book being played out as a film.
DC have had some amazing films over the years with the Dark Knight Trilogy, The Christopher Reeve Superman film, Shazam, and Wonder Woman, but most of their films have been quite mediocre and DC did rush their extended cinematic universe just to compete with Marvel, and an over-reliance on Batman does not help in this matter.
Whereas Marvel has pumped out so many solo superhero films, that have been very critically acclaimed, so Marvel wins when it comes to the movie front.
Round 6 (Movies) Winner - Marvel
Marvel has quite a selection of very popular superhero characters.
Round 7 - TV Shows
TV Shows have always been a big hit and miss for both Marvel, and DC. Both have managed to make a lot more TV shows in the recent years since the films have become more popular but are they as well explored through other media like films, and comics?
DCs most popular TV shows are Gotham, which is a prequel of Batman, and meant to focus on the characters of Batman before Bruce Wayne became the vigilante.
Titans, which is based on the sidekick based Superhero team, Teen Titans and features characters like Robin, Starfire, and even Batman pops up every now and then.
DC also have a lot of cartoons to enjoy such as the Batman animated series, Justice League, Teen Titans, and Young Justice, all these cartoons have enjoyed rave reviews and are loved by many fans around the world. DCs main TV shows belong to the stable known as the Arrowverse which includes TV shows such as Arrow, based on the superhero the Green Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. These TV shows are all connected to each other as an extended universe, like the DCEU.
Marvel on the other hand have had bad luck when it comes with their TV shows. They have had good shows such as Daredevil, The Punisher but they have been Netflix exclusives and a big majority of shows have been cancelled and only lasted for a season or two.
Marvels TV shows do connect to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even though Marvel has a new slate of TV shows coming out on their Disney plus platform, Marvel has always had bad luck in this department and have not been well received by fans.
So DC has the better TV shows overall for multiple TV series that have spammed multiple seasons.
Round 7 (TV Shows) Winner - DC
Round 8 - Video Games
Increasingly, watching our favourite superheroes kick up dust on the big screen isn't enough, we need to also be them and the only way to do that is to play as them in video games. DC has had many video games, mainly using the Batman licence, however recently, DC has worked on two mega video game series that has been able to compete with other video games in their genre.
The two big video game series are the Batman Arkham series, which lets you play as the Dark Knight himself, and fight crime across a massive open world Gotham City, you get to meet and fight a wide selection of bad guys in Batman's rogue galleries, and their side quests are varied and different to one and another.
The other video game series is Injustice, which is a fighting game that features a lot of different DC superheroes and villains and asks the ultimate question, 'What if Superman and other DC superheroes became the world's greatest threat?'
This fighting game gives fans the opportunity to pick any superhero and villain to fight each other in this exhilarating game from the creators of the hit Mortal Kombat series.
Marvel have had some good video games over the years. X-Men have had a lot of cool games such as the X-Men legends series, where you can pick any X-Men or member of the brotherhood of shadow.
The X-Men Mutant Academy Series which is a fighting game featuring characters from the X-Men Universe. The Marvel ultimate alliance series has always been considered as Marvels biggest video game series. It's a dream come true for Marvel fans since you can play as any character from the Marvel Comics, both superheroes, and supervillains and fight a variety of different famous enemies.
Spiderman have had a lot of good games also, especially the new PS4 exclusive games Marvel Spiderman, and Marvel Spiderman: Miles Morales. However, with the exception of Spiderman. somewhere Marvel has lacked on is making solo video games to solo superheroes.
The Marvel video games that came out were based on the films in the MCU which were received poorly and considered bad games. Spiderman has been the only good Marvel solo superhero game so far in my opinion. The Marvel Avengers game that came out in 2020 was quite disappointing for its lack of content, and repetitive level design, and combat.
Even though Marvel have had a lot of good games in the past, I do think DC beats Marvel when it comes to video games because DC tend to focus on quality over quantity, whereas Marvel did rush a lot of their solo video games based on their superheroes like Iron Man, Thor just to promote films in the MCU.
Round 8 (Video Games) Winner - DC
Overall Final Conclusion - Marvel Wins!
It is very hard to pick between these two amazing and expansive universes, but in my opinion, Marvel wins by a head because of the vast investment in as many characters as possible, whereas DC has zeroed in on just a small selection of hardcore names.
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