It’s no surprise that many comic book fans are caught up in a seemingly endless rivalry over which is better, DC Comics or Marvel Comics. It’s been a battle that’s been raging for decades. Now that Disney and Warner Bros. have fired out plenty of options in movies and television, the battle has entered into the mainstream and reached Crisis of Infinite Earths proportions. It’s no longer just comic geeks having the argument and it’s no longer just about comics.
The bickering has gone beyond which one has the best movies, TV shows, and comics and has turned many online forums into heated, furious battlegrounds, where people get enraged that someone has the nerve to like a movie that they don’t. Geek fandom has always been somewhat devisive (Star Wars versus Star Trek, anyone?), but these days it’s getting just as bad as American politics and social views. You’re dissenting views are no longer just seen as wrong. They’re seen as objects that must be totally anhiliated in order for someone else to be safe with their own opinions.
Still, in spite of the vitriol and flame wars, there are some fans who are appreciating that we’re in the middle of a golden age of superhero entertainment. Between Warner Bros., Disney, Fox, and Sony, there are at least 19 comic book movies scheduled for release between now and the summer of 2020.
The demand for superhero properties is so hot right now that even characters outside the mainstream are getting a shot at a film or a television show. Fox recently launched Lucifer and AMC is set to premier Preacher, both based on titles from DC’s Vertigo Comics. There probably weren’t too many people who thought Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy would ever be a movie, or that DC Comics’ Suicide Squad would be on the horizon, and even less who thought The Walking Dead would go on to become television’s highest rated program. But studios and the general public are realizing what comic book fans have known all along – that with the right amount of backing and use of technology, these properties can make for great live-action entertainment.
Comic fans no longer have to rely on animated series or low-budget Saturday morning live-action shows to sate their appetite for regular superhero action, even though there are more of those on the horizon, too. Studios are throwing lots of money behind these movies and television shows and the overall production values are much better for it.
At some point, the market may feel saturated, the superhero fever may pass, and the bubble might burst. With too many options to choose from, fans may become increasingly more selective with their dollars and their time, forcing studios and networks to question whether a superhero property is a good investment. They may not be the guaranteed hit that everyone hopes for. The Fantastic Four’s recent crash and burn proved that very notably.
In the meantime, fans of the genre should appreciate that there is plenty of room for all of it. Not all movies have to look like Marvel movies and not all TV shows have to look like DC shows. A really good movie doesn’t need to make $1 billion at the box office to be considered good and a bad movie doesn’t become good just because a lot of people went to see it. And if you don’t like the recent interpretation, just wait a few years, because it’s probably going to be rebooted anyway.
But most importantly, in spite of the rivalries, nobody is limited to just liking one or the other. It is possible, and even logical, to like the Suicide Squad just as much as the X-Men, to want to see a good Fantastic Four movie just as much as a good Teen Titans movie, and to want to see the Justice League movie as eagerly as you want to see the next Avengers team-up.
Now that most cable companies provide services that let you record shows that air at the same time and offer reruns of most programs through OnDemand services, there really is no reason to choose. You can watch The Walking Dead, Agent Carter, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, and an entire season of Netflix’s Daredevil all in one block of comic book television awesomeness.
Just like the battles between Superman and Lex Luthor or the X-Men and Magneto, the conflict between Marvel and DC fanboys will rage on. But while they do their best to work each other into a frenzy in forums all across the internet, other fans are appreciating that this is one of the best times in history to be a geek. When you see major releases for Star Wars, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, X-Men, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Dr. Strange, The Avengers, and The Justice League, all in a span of 2-3 years, that’s more than enough to leave any open-minded fanboy in a near perpetual state of euphoria. Some will be better than others, but it could certainly get very boring very fast if none of them did anything to differentiate themselves. Star Trek doesn’t need to mimic the galactic battles from Star Wars to be fun anymore than DC movies need to mimic the tone in Marvel movies. Likewise, Agent Carter doesn’t need the rollercoaster ride of superhero action that we get in Legends of Tomorrow. It’s a totally different show with a completely different feel, but both are still enjoyable to watch.
This Mega Superhero Mash-Up (version 1.0) celebrates those fans who don’t care about the DC versus Marvel rivalry – those who don’t limit their preferences to just one style, one studio, or one publisher and deprive themselves of quality geektainment in the process. The ones who just want to enjoy heroic characters doing amazing things in incredible circumstances and aren’t getting tripped up by company logos or their own limited expectations of what the movies and TV shows MUST be and how they MUST look in order for them to be good. It’s version 1.0 because it may be updated as new character images become available that warrant inclusion.
Some want only the Marvel universe. Some want only the DC universe. Others aren’t limited by universes and would love to see a universe where the Avengers can team up with the Justice League and the X-Men on the big screen to fight off Darkseid and Thanos. Now THAT would be geektastic!
The photos used in this collage are the property of their respective studios and artists. No copyright of them is intended or implied.