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Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

Old 05-18-19, 09:12 AM
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Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

I started buying comics when I was a kid. The first comic I bought was in early 1975, an issue of Spidey Super Stories. I loved Spider-Man, and immediately graduated to The Amazing Spider-Man the next month with issue #144. I was hooked. I added The Incredible Hulk and Fantastic Four to my regular titles. (I didn't buy every issue, but I did buy every issue that caught my eye when I had the money to buy them.)

Marvel was my comic book company of choice. The Marvel Comics Group stripe/strip at the top of each issue was like a beacon guiding me to great comic book entertainment!

DC?? I wasn't anti-DC, per se. They were just... different. Even as a 7 year old kid I could tell the difference in the writing and art between the two companies. When I flipped through the Superman issues on the spinner the art by Curt Swan just seemed so... bland. There was nothing wrong with it, but it wasn't Romita or John Buscema (with Joe Sinnott's inks). It wasn't as dynamic or exciting as the art by Ross Andru with Mike Esposito or Frank Giacoia inking. It wasn't as good as George Perez' work on Fantastic Four.

But every now and then I saw something interesting. Like The Brave and the Bold #119...




...now THAT looked interesting! And the art! Jim Aparo knocked it out of the park! So I bought it. And another issue of Brave and the Bold later on. And I liked them. Haney's stories with Aparo's art were (and still are) compelling and entertaining.

But my money was reserved for Marvel. DC purchases were relegated to my leftover money IF I had any after the Marvel purchases.

As a result, I never fully got into DC. In the 70's and early 80's I saw DC as kind of exotic. It was different - a different world, a different universe with a different style, and I preferred Marvel. I didn't really become anti-DC until the mid 80's (when I was in my late teens), which, in hindsight, was a mistake. Had I given Batman and the Outsiders a chance I would have loved it. As it was I loved The New Teen Titans (and bought most issues up to #25 or so before losing track). I probably would have liked the Gerry Conway run on Batman and Detective Comics.

But in the 70's and early 80's DC really did seem exotic to me. Different, a little strange in some ways (the tone just seemed off to me), but still somewhat compelling.

I just didn't have the money to buy all the Marvel titles I wanted AND all the DC titles that appealed to me, so I mostly stuck with Marvel.

And then, at some point in the mid 80's (just before John Byrne took over Superman), I developed a mindset that became very biased against DC. They were the inferior company, and they were the competitors to Marvel, so they were the bad guys. It was like following sports teams. If you were a New York Giants fan or a Washington Redskins fan you kind of had to hate the Dallas Cowboys. If you were a San Diego Charges fan you had to hate the Oakland Raiders (it was easy to do, too). And, in my mind (and, I suspect, in the minds of many Marvel fans in the 70's and 80's) if you were a Marvel fan you had to hate DC.

Decades later I remembered The Brave and the Bold #119. One of the Man-Bat issues. I wondered, was it as good as I remembered. So I looked for it online and found it. Sure enough, it was every bit as good as I remembered. So I bought the Brave and the Bold Omnibus that had that issue. I found that I had really missed out on a lot of stuff. At the same time I got all three Omnibi ( ) of The New Teen Titans, and found that the writing on those comics was fantastic. And George Perez was, well, George Perez! (I'm not a huge fan of Romeo Tanghal's inks, but he didn't ruin anything...)

So from there I've been jumping on to a bunch of DC titles in trade paperbacks and hardcover collections. Superman The Man Of Steel TPB's (if anyone has a copy of TPB Vol 4 that you'd be willing to part with let me know), Green Lantern/Green Arrow (the O'Neill/Adams run), the two Gerry Conway Batman HC collections, the Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams HC collections, etc. It's all been really good stuff. And I missed out the first time around on most (but not all) of it.

I still think Marvel is the superior comics company, and they have been for most of the last 58 years, but DC has definitely put out some really good stuff in that time.

But I find it interesting how the rivalry between Marvel and the Distinguished Competition impacted me (and, I'd bet, lots of others) as a comic buyer and reader, and skewed my perception of DC.

Last edited by B5Erik; 05-18-19 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 05-18-19, 10:08 AM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

Kind of the opposite for me, always preferred DC. Similar time frame, I started slightly earlier.

Still love and collect both, but luckily discovered non big-two comics in the 80s and much more enjoy now non-soap opera fare from the independents.
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Old 05-18-19, 11:03 AM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

I can echo very similar thoughts on my marvel vs DC thinking back in my childhood and teenage years. Marvel wasn’t awful, just different. I know there were a lot of people that liked both equally from the get-go, but I bet that most people were like us, and preferred one.

I’m sure it’s mostly whichever company first set it’s hooks in you, and made you feel the line and universe-wide continuity, was the one that you preferred.
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Old 05-18-19, 11:50 AM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

I was 80% DC, 20% Marvel as a kid/teen. DC was my main love, but I faithfully followed Fantastic Four, Avengers, Iron Man, and Captain America (in that order). I hated X-Men and Spider-Man. My favorites were Superman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Flash, Teen Titans, Batman, Justice League (America, International, Europe, etc), and especially Legion of Super-Heroes. I loved the entire DCU, played the Mayfair RPG, painted the miniatures, and bought every sourcebook I could get my hands on.

I even had a near-complete collection of the Kenner Super Powers action figures... and then in 1987 the entire collection were stolen from the trunk of my car

But I still loved and respected Marvel. The David Micheline/Bob Layton Iron Man, Roger Stern/Mark Gruenwald Captain America, and John Byrne/Walt Simonson Fantastic Four are some of my favorite runs of all time.
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Old 05-18-19, 01:14 PM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

This is fun! I was the same in that I started with DC at a young age, and Marvel just seemed ... different. A friend had Marvel stuff, and I'd flip through them and wasn't drawn into it. I think I gravitated to the safer/blander/familiar stuff that DC was at the time. Plus, it seemed like Marvel comics had ads every other page!

In high school, a different friend convinced me that Spider-man was worth trying. I tried it and liked it! Became a Marvel junkie right away, but continued with my passion for Superman. Eventually, I determined that Marvel had the superior heroes and stories, but never turned my back on DC. Just had a new preference, as if they needed to be ranked.

Ten years ago, I quit collecting completely. Partly due to costs, and mostly due to Spider-man: One More Day. (ha ha?) I kept a minimal interest in following what both companies were doing - concluding that they both became so engrossed in revamping/rebooting/confusing their respective worlds/universes/multiverses that it would be too much effort to ever try and get back on board.

But ... my love for Superman has sparked again. I am now "collecting" again - but only Superman stuff. Even with all the reboots/New 52s/Rebirths I can still follow the character easily enough to enjoy it again. Going back to comic stores after all this time convinces me that my feelings on the confusion factor is still valid. At one time, I had every issue of Amazing Spider-man - and all the other titles that followed. But seeing the stuff on the shelf now - damn! I wouldn't know where to start, if I were so inclined! Marvel is out of reach for me, which is sad. I loved the old 1960s Thors and Fantastic Fours. It's not the same.

What was the question? Oh yeah - fifty-plus years into it, DC wins for me.
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Old 05-18-19, 08:59 PM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

It's funny, but even as a kid in the 70's I recognized that Marvel did a better job of showing their superheroes as people. They focused on the personal lives of the characters as much as, if not more than, their superhero lives. The characters were more sophisticated and real. I could relate to Peter Parker. I couldn't relate to Bruce Wayne (a multi-millionaire whose public persona as BW was less real to him than his persona as Batman). Clark Kent was artificially goofy and awkward to hide the fact that he was Superman. Clark was the false identity, whereas Peter was who Spider-Man really was at the end of the day - and he really was goofy and awkward!

Now, there were some exceptions. Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams did some amazing work fleshing out Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen. But at the very same time they were doing that, Superman's comic was still fairly simplistic and hadn't moved on a whole lot from the 1950's in storytelling style (writing or art). The Teen Titans first incarnation was simplistic when it came to characterization, and was still aimed at a pre-teen audience (something that would radically change come The NEW Teen Titans a decade later).

So even as a kid I recognized those differences, and I gravitated to Marvel because of it.

DC did grow, they did adopt a storytelling style that gave their characters more depth and sophistication - but they were a decade or more behind Marvel, and they hired key Marvel talent (Marv Wolfman, George Perez, John Byrne) to try and get them caught up. And it was right as they were doing that that I took a side and more or less closed my mind to DC. I looked at what they had been a decade earlier and took that to mean that they would never be as good as Marvel with characterization and coming up with superheroes that seemed like real people behind those powers, hiding below the public image on the surface.

And then Marvel pissed me off in the late 90's when they started retconning key storylines. Changing the fundamentals of what happened and who the characters were (Peter's clone died in issue 149, and that was it - and Peter found out for himself that he really was the original in #150). Follow that up with crossovers twice a year into titles that I didn't really want to buy (but had to in order to have the complete stories) and I finally said, "ENOUGH!" I bought maybe 3 comics and a handful of trades between 1999 or so and 2018. I'm still not interested in modern Marvel comics simply because I don't have the time or money to get caught up on 20 years of stories that would be hit or miss with me.

Having said that, I just bought the Amazing Spider-Man omnibus collecting the J. Michael Straczynski run on the title. I love Babylon 5 (duh), and I love Spider-Man. I was just still pissed off when JMS was actively writing those issues, so I skipped them. My loss. Good stuff.

But now, in 2019, I've finally embraced DC. I still firmly believe that Marvel was the superior company from 1960-2000 or so, but I'm open to the possibility that DC caught Marvel in the 90's (I really don't know - the era I'm collecting is mostly late 60's to the late 80's). I do know this - I love what I've been reading (Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams, Superman The Man of Steel, New Teen Titans, Batman and the Outsiders, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, etc).

I do also know that DC has screwed things up in the last 25 years, too. Too many reboots and retcons. How hard is it, really, to maintain most continuity and still put out great stories? It can't be that hard. I suspect it's like people where I work - they feel the need to change things to put their own stamp on it. Their way is better than the old way.

Whatever. DC did get it right with multiple titles, and Marvel got it right far more than they got it wrong from 1961 to 1990. Both companies put out good stuff during that time.
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Old 05-19-19, 01:32 AM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

My loyalty is evenly split. Being a blind fanboy, is depriving oneself the opportunity to explore what other comic publishers have to offer.
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Old 05-19-19, 01:59 AM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

Originally Posted by ddrknghtrtns View Post
My loyalty is evenly split. Being a blind fanboy, is depriving oneself the opportunity to explore what other comic publishers have to offer.
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Very true. Of course, as a kid you can only spend so much on comics, so for me it was a matter of prioritizing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and the Fantastic Four over anything from DC. Like I mentioned before, I bought the occasional DC comic, but the characters just didn't win me over the way Marvel's did. Later, when I had the money to buy both I took sides after years of buying 95% Marvel. It really was like being a Redskins fan and rooting against the Cowboys (or vice versa). Marvel was my team, DC was the opponent.

And yet, I still wanted to like DC - the term I used for their titles was, "Exotic," and that's what they seemed like at the time. Exotic, exciting, but just slightly inferior.

But now I'm finding a lot of good stuff from DC that I never read, and while I do still firmly believe that Marvel had the better real life true identity characters, I'm really enjoying the DC books I've bought. (Except Superman in the Seventies. That book kind of sucks. The stories were told in an outdated style and had very little of the sophistication and real life character types that was the strength of Marvel.)


Of course, all this begs the question - was your loyalty always evenly divided? Even when you were younger?
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Old 05-19-19, 09:08 AM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

As a kid I loved the phrase "to be continued". Whether it was comics, Lost in Space, or a two part Man From U.N.C.L.E. or Get Smart. I had a thing for serialization. Even in the newspaper comics. So I preferred Marvel. I loved the way Marvel would have a couple of teaser panels setting up a story that was several issues away. Going back later and reading all the issues between clean breaks in the various plotlines going on.
With DC I gravitated toward the lesser known heroes like Spectre and Deadman. I also was into stuff like Star Spangled War Stories with the WWII G.I.s fighting dinosaurs and Tomahawk with monsters and such on the frontier.
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Old 05-19-19, 03:52 PM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

Originally Posted by B5Erik View Post
Very true. Of course, as a kid you can only spend so much on comics, so for me it was a matter of prioritizing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and the Fantastic Four over anything from DC. Like I mentioned before, I bought the occasional DC comic, but the characters just didn't win me over the way Marvel's did. Later, when I had the money to buy both I took sides after years of buying 95% Marvel. It really was like being a Redskins fan and rooting against the Cowboys (or vice versa). Marvel was my team, DC was the opponent.

And yet, I still wanted to like DC - the term I used for their titles was, "Exotic," and that's what they seemed like at the time. Exotic, exciting, but just slightly inferior.

But now I'm finding a lot of good stuff from DC that I never read, and while I do still firmly believe that Marvel had the better real life true identity characters, I'm really enjoying the DC books I've bought. (Except Superman in the Seventies. That book kind of sucks. The stories were told in an outdated style and had very little of the sophistication and real life character types that was the strength of Marvel.)


Of course, all this begs the question - was your loyalty always evenly divided? Even when you were younger?
Before I could speak or walk, I was already a big fan of Superman and Robin. Probably due to watching Superfriends. As I was learning to read, my Dad had two trunks, full of silver age comics (mostly Marvel). He would let me borrow a stack to read and when I was finished and returned them, (in fine condition) he would loan me another stack. This was how I learned about the Marvel universe. To get my DC universe fix, I would go to my local comic book store or flea market and rummage thru the bargain bins.

In my opinion, both had a very unique and interesting take on the superhero genre.
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Old 05-19-19, 05:24 PM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

I didn't read many comics as a kid. Sure I picked up the occasional one from the newsstand at the drugstore, but it was never a regular thing. I did watch a lot of cartoons though, and while I remember Super-Friends and Batman's appearances on Scooby Doo, the character I always connected the most with was Spider-Man, I identified him as my favorite hero from a very young age. I vividly remember watching Spider-Man cartoons every Saturday morning. Still didn't start collecting comics though. Then in the 90's, my younger brother began watching the X-Men cartoons, and I watched them with him. At some point he got a subscription to Uncanny, and I ended up reading them more than he did. Through those comics, I began to realize that there were a lot more X-Men comics out there, and often I was not getting the complete story just reading Uncanny, so in my high school years, I began venturing to comic book stores to pick up the other X-books. Then of course Onslaught came along, which made me branch out even further than the mutants, and before I knew it I was collecting almost every comic that Marvel published.

Then when I was in college, Marvel did a crossover with the Top Cow imprint of Image, and soon I was collecting Witchblade and the Darkness too. It all spiraled out of control from there, but I really didn't start collecting any DC books until after that. Identifying Garth Ennis from the Darkness, I started picking up Hitman (mainline DC) and Preacher (Vertigo). I ended up collecting a lot more Vertigo titles, but not a lot of mainstream DC stuff. I started Green Arrow when Kevin Smith took it over, and I think I started picking up Superman/Batman mainly because of Michael Turner's artwork. I think I also hopped on Wonder Woman for a while when Adam Hughes was drawing it, and JLA when Grant Morrison was writing it, but I can't think of many other mainline DC titles that I ever picked up. I just never connected with them like I did with Marvel. I was never a regular on a Batman or Superman solo title, and I never really connected with either hero personally.

I stopped collecting comics all together 9-10 years ago, not long after my kids were born. My habit cost anywhere from $30-60 per week at that point, and I couldn't afford it anymore. I found it easier to just go cold turkey than to try to pare it down. I still see just about every comic book movie that comes out, and I want them all to be good, but I can admit that I have biases.

Last edited by Obi-Wan Jabroni; 05-20-19 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 05-19-19, 06:10 PM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

I grew up completely as a fan of both companies. I never really understood those people that had intense feelings for one company or the other. I'd peg my interests as a 50/50 split. But I grew increasingly unhappy with the direction Marvel took starting in the mid to late 1990s, particularly for characters like the X-Men and Spider-Man. I'm all DC these days, with only a mild curiousity in Marvel's current affairs. I still read their classic stuff, but that is mostly it.

The decision to have Peter Parker's marriage annulled through a deal with Mephisto more or less ended my Marvel fandom. I still consider it the dumbest editorial decision in comic book history. It was so bad it's even spilled over into my feelings about Marvel characters in other mediums.
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Old 05-21-19, 12:52 AM
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Re: Marvel VS DC, A Different Take...

I started out as a comic book reader through Spider-man, around the time that McFarlane and Michelinie were on Amazing. Through comics featuring Spider-man I became aware of Beta Ray Bill, the Punisher, Captain America, The Thing, Power Pack and others. I got a good sense of the Marvel Universe. It seemed colorful, fun, and featured cool-looking superheroes who lived in the "real" world. I wasn't a complete Marvel zombie yet.

Then Batmania II hit in 1989 and I took a break from Marvel's Spider-man. I started reading Detective Comics when Breyfogle and Grant were on the title. I started reading up on Batman and it seemed like his history alone rivaled the entirety of the Marvel Universe. Batman at the time seem pretty self-contained though, and when I took a glance at the other comics from DC they seemed foreign yet boring. LEGION '89, Teen Titans, The Outsiders, Elongated Man, a guy in green with a Three Stooges hair cut? Who were these characters? And Superman was dullsville. The only other good character they had was Wonder Woman, but her comics had awesome covers yet horrible art that featured a non-goddess-like Wonder Woman working at taco bell.

Uncanny X-Men, Spider-man #1 and ultimately X-Men #1 is what sealed the deal for me as a Marvel fan. Marvel just had better characters and art. Anyone remember Les Daniels' Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics? That book made me an even bigger fan of Marvel. I enjoyed just about any Marvel comic I got my hands on. Even a character I had no interest in like Dr. Strange ended up being a good read just because it was a loose tie-in to The Infinity Gauntlet. The interconnected universe was a like a vast soap opera for kids.
I didn't even think of buying DC anymore and would even draw pictures of Marvel characters beating up DC characters. It was like what would happen with Sega vs Nintendo.

I only became a DC fan after I gave up on Marvel and after Image's own creators stopped drawing their own comics.
Zero Hour, Kelley Jones/Doug Moench's Batman, and Flash #0 is what got me hooked on DC Comics. Batman was brought back to his early atmospheric horror Detective Comics roots, and The Flash had this entire mythology I didn't even know existed. Plus, I always loved Golden Age comics and I thought that was DC's strength as they had the Justice Society of America, and most of the core, iconic characters came from that period. They had their own little Marvel-like universe with the history and legacy of the Speedsters. Apparently the Golden Age Sandman dreamed of Morpheus. I ended up appreciating the more iconic and archetypal aspects of DC's superheroes. Once I hit high school I drifted away from comics. I came back when it was announced that Jim Lee would be illustrating Batman every month. All-Star Superman, Harley Quinn, I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League...DC was the best.

But then I went back to Marvel again with Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon, Mark Texeira on Ghost Rider again, and some odd and wonderful thing called X-Statix.

So as an adult, I like both publishers equally.
Marvel has the shared universe thing down, and seems more modern and contemporary.
DC has the self-contained, iconic characters, and feels more classic.

But for some reason I tend not to buy from both publishers at the same time. Weird.
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