Disney’s Epic IP Showdown: Marvel vs. DC

in DC, Entertainment, Marvel

Marvel vs. DC

Credit: Inside the Magic

While the world worries over Disney+ subscription costs, many die-hard fans ask big questions, like “Marvel vs. DC?” Sure, plenty are fans of both the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe. What’s more common is picking a team and sticking with those opinions, whether it’s Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel.

Wonder Woman Captain Marvel
Credit: Forbes/Vox

Marvel and DC: Another Theme for a New Golden Age

Timely comics are a significant part of bringing characters like Peter Parker, Dark Knight, Green Lantern, and Justice League into modern times. It means there is a chance to create a new hero that reflects society’s current standards. The new Golden Age takes the brilliance of Stan Lee and Kevin Feige and turns it into an aspiration.

Superman left, MCU error in timelines clarified
Credit: DC Studios / Marvel Studios

Since time immemorial, there have been hero stories to inspire. Whether etched into the wall of a cave or on the pages for a DC fan (or MCU fan), lore holds culture. Humanity has as long as there is a way to survive, even through Captain America and Captain Marvel’s proper, whichever side of Marvel vs. DC a fan falls on.

What’s the difference between Marvel and DC Characters

Marvel and DC are two major comic book publishers with distinct characteristics regarding their characters. This extends to Marvel Studios and DC Studios. When it comes to characters like Iron Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, like many others, Tony Stark is a New Yorker.

Tony Stark with Black Widow using his hand blaster in Iron Man 2
Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Most Marvel Universe characters have significant flaws, adding to their humanity. This shows in the issues that live alongside superhero duties, such as Jessica Jones facing PTSD like a boss.

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Circe with an evil smile while stroking the chin of Wonder Woman in the Justice League animated series.
Credit: DC Studios

DC Universe

When it comes to DC characters, there is a bit more of a fiction bromide to the style. The DC universe involves places like Gotham City or Metropolis. Many of the characters feature god-like or alien abilities. Just consider Superman and Lex Luthor. Using the distance sheer fiction offers lets there be clear allegories between good and evil.

The Avengers and the Justice League
Credit: Marvel Studios/DC/Warner Bros.

MCU and DC Extended Universe: Two Leaders in Fiction

While comic books might kickstart the inspiration behind Marvel and DC, it isn’t where the buck stops. These two powerhouses of fiction extended into powerful properties, the IP of which Disney+ proudly holds. Still, frame and animation might have been a beginning, but it’s far from the end as the world continues to drool over everyone from the actor James Gunn to the character Black Panther.

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There’s a lot of common ground (given that they are both comic-rooted film studios). That said, the division is present.

What is the difference between Marvel and DC?

Practicality is the core difference between Marvel and DC. The MCU is famed for its interconnectedness, with stories and arcs woven through movies and TV series. The roots in real places add to this, enabling a strong sense of humor. It’s also had an easier time introducing lesser-known characters. Remember David Haller from Legion?

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DC takes the creative media and goes darker with it. There are more standalone films and iconic characters like Batman and Superman. Stylistically, DC tends towards a mythic, ethereal story, while MCU goes the other way. Consider the difference between Luke Cage and Superman taking a bullet. The mechanics mark a huge difference in the franchises.

Spider-Man and Batman
Credit: Marvel Studios (left) / DC Comics (right)

What are the main differences between Marvel and DC Comics?

Echoes of storytelling styles ring properly throughout the comics. In DC storytelling, it allows complete immersion into an entirely fictional location. You can’t find Gotham City on Google Maps; that safety lets the books and films get dark. The struggles of the DC characters are usually symbolic, representing the root of good and evil rather than a facet thereof.

When it comes to Wonder Woman, Superman, or the Justice League, there are clear right and wrong themes. Within the MCU, there is a bit more nuance. Iron Man is far from perfect. Wolverine is no different, nor is Thor, Black Panther, or Hawkeye. While the MCU is fictional, its characters are more flawed, better representing individual struggle than general morals.

David Haller and Aubrey Plaza
Credit: Marvel

What are the differences between Marvel heroes and DC heroes?

Suppose you want a hero with some meat to their character with MCU all over it. Iron Man is not perfect. None of the MCU characters are, just like everyone else, struggling in cities like New York. For those who want a pure hero, tDC Studios material is the way to go. There is no question about right and wrong. Lady Justice is blind (and her scales aren’t rigged).

How is Marvel different from DC in terms of writing?

When Marvel Studios creates or reinvigorates a character, it’s to create something relatable. Mutant humans, a common theme, are inherently more relevant to everyday life for people. Add in the actual places like New York City, and it’s pretty straightforward that Marvel writing is meant for nuance. The average Marvel character has a significant flaw that adds a dash of reality to the fiction. Often, this seed differentiates an MCU fan from a DC fan.

Jason Momoa looking surprised as Aquaman in the water
Credit: DC Studios

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In Warner Bros DC writing, it’s more literal. That’s not to say it lacks nuance, but rather that said nuance is viewed through an unrealistic metaphor. Humans don’t come from Krypton. The superpowers of the characters in DC represent more significant picture concepts. While the MCU represents humanity, the DCEU looks at society itself. The scope of DC writing is more expansive with epic ideas of morality, what it means to be a hero, and the everlasting question of good and evil.

Team fighting in 'Zack Snyder's Justice League' (2021)
Credit: DC Studios

Who won in the DC versus Marvel comic book crossover?

The winner was Marvel, effectively a character that traverses between the two universes. It generates a Multiverse concept, infusing Batman and Captain America with pieces of each galaxy. It gave a chance to integrate comic-inspired content, assimilating MCU and DC.

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Disney IP ranges from National Geographic to ESPN, Marvel to DC (and some Star Wars). When it comes to such epic powerhouses, the utility value of the opportunity lies in getting both Warner Bros DC fan attention and Marvel Cinematic Universe fans’ focus simultaneously.

Ultimately, while Marvel takes the technical cake, both universes win.

The Justice League
Credit: DC Studios/Warner Bros.

What makes a superhero truly captivating?

There’s a lot of theory about what makes the Dark Knight and Captain America the powerful hero idols they are. Some argue that it depends on nature, being drawn to similar or complementary traits. Others believe it to rely on nurture, where culture and life experience inform the idea of a hero. The first story ever written was called the Epic of Gilgamesh, creating the archetype we see still in Marvel and DC.

  • Heroes are captivating because they call on something within the audience. Whether it’s a relatable flaw or the urge to help fellow man, Marvel Studios and the DC Multiverse create opportunities to tie our narratives to something greater.
  • Most people don’t survive life unscathed, and that’s true of a compelling hero. The backstory can tie to a call to action like with Peter Parker or something dark like Batman. This allows viewers and readers to relate to the content in a personal, formative way, identifying traits they may share with the hero of choice from the Justice League.
  • Nothing in life is simple, and the hero concept in both DC and MCU acknowledges that. In DC, it shows universal truths that are unjust or unfair. In the MCU, it’s a matter of characters dealing with complexity in a relatable and fair way.
  • When heroes grow, it suggests that we, as people, can succeed. Seeing the hero from whichever studio or scene is closest to the heart proves the concept. It ties readers to the character through the hope that inspires comics and filmography.
  • Iconography is the final nail in the hero’s coffin, where explicit imagery performs a “wire and fire” phenomenon in the brain. Seeing the costume of Wonder Woman or Green Lantern repeatedly (with context) means the hero becomes associated with more brain matter and takes on a ‘larger-than-life’ persona.

Related article: Marvel, DC Actors Reunite for Major Upcoming Event

Kevin Feige with the Avengers: Age of Ultron cast
Credit: Inside the Magic

The ultimate hero is different for everyone under the sun. Each person is unique, as is each hero (despite some overlap). He was finding someone to look up to, whether a living person like Stan Lee or James Gunn or a hero like Green Lantern, is a gift. Both DC Studios and Marvel Studios provide millions of readers and viewers a chance to look up to someone, something, or an idea that resonates. Using that inspiration, the world can grow into a better place.

Common Ground Between MCU and DCEU

Yes, there is an inherent difference between Marvel Comics and DC Comics. But the amount of common ground is substantial. The DC Universe and the Marvel Universe call on comic book history to adapt iconic stories and themes. Each universe contains mythical creatures, some inspired by the Norse pantheon, like Thor and Loki. DC leans towards Wonder Woman and Aquaman as characters to represent larger-than-life concepts.

King Thanos surrounded by the Avengers
Credit: Disney

Action-Packed Spectacles

Both universes focus on action, cinematic drama, and an immersive experience that tempts the senses. Through special effects and influential scores, the two universes become entwined conceptually. Team-ups like The Avengers and Justice League rely on synergy between characters to catalyze change and reinforce messages.

Tone and Morality

Yes, the DC Universe has a bit of a darker tone, but it’s become a representation of a darker world. Its ability to adapt to reflect the story to mirror reality is one of the reasons both hero and villain are so compelling. The iconic MCU comedic tone takes the darkness and harnesses it into gallows humor, taking some of the sting out of an often brutal reality. Both DC and Marvel have a style that encapsulates modern society through the lens of fiction.

As for morality, an easy way to think of it is that DC is macrocosmic while the MCU is microcosmic. Each contains multitudes and depth, shown in characters, their struggles, and interactions. One thing that the two universes, comic, animation, and film, share is the truth of right and wrong, using every tool at their disposal in each media.

avengers-alex-ross
Credit: Alex Ross

Expanding Universes to Changing With Time

Ultimately, the purpose of fiction is to create an environment separate from reality that allows viewers many chances to experience the world. In a cinema, it’s escapism and shared experience. With comic books and television, it’s the opportunity to relate over time, the hope for a better future.

That’s the seed that forges these two powerful enterprises. There is hope as long as there are heroes and villains, right and wrong. That same hope keeps us hooked on the world of action, mystery, and larger-than-life places of fiction.

Which team are you on? Marvel vs. DC? Share your thoughts down below!

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