By: Gere Iverson - MSTv contribuitor
We're sure you've all seen the new trailers for the upcoming "Superman V Batman," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Ant-Man" and the "Fantastic Four" reboot films. If not, stop being lazy, click the links and hit up Youtube now..
Ok, you're back.
Now, I'm sure most of us are having literal joy-gasms every week from the heroes on our television screens. Plus, the very idea of even more of the spandex clad set hitting our friendly neigbhourhood multiplex cinemas regularly, have made millions of movie-goers very happy. And, of course billions of dollars for the heroes parent/production companies.
So, it seems that everyone is winning from the "DC V Marvel" (with Dark Horse and Image sneaking in drive-by's for good measure) visual media feud. But, what company has the upper hand? And more importantly, which one is doing a better job?
Well, let's go back about 55 years to the beginnings of this "feud." At the time, DC was in full swing with "rebooting" their original golden age heroes to much success. Marvel, on the other hand, had given up the ghost with their old heroes and were mainly doing monster, romance and western comics.
Then as now, both companies had the comic game mainly on lock in a very friendly rivalry. But, who could have imagined that this friendly rivalry could become a friendly war from just a simple game of golf in 1961?
Most know the story of how the publishers of DC and Marvel, were playing golf in 1961. The DC boss, either Jack Liebowitz or Irwin Donenfeld, bragged about the success of their revived superhero line and new team, the Justice League of America. (first shot) In response, (or retaliation) the Marvel boss, Martin Goodman urged the now legendary Stan Lee, to create his version of a team of superheroes; or simply, the Fantastic Four. (second shot)
More and more readers liked this new and different comic high, from Marvel, now on the street. So, ole Stan got even weirder and wilder, with more incentive to follow up using the same formula, just more tailored to fit different buyers. Then he just completely cut loose and boom -- the Marvel universe is born and the comic war flat out began.
Since then, Marvel has often trounced DC in the storytelling department; being cited as telling their fantastic tales with a street-level perspective. (Or, superheroes the little guy with problems can relate to.) However, DC is more lauded for their more sophisticated and mythological level of writing and character development. (Or, superheroes the little guy wishes or aspires to be.)
Also, within these past 54 years, both companies have often expanded their very popular and growing properties into the media outlets of television and film, to varied degrees of success.
However, within the last 17 years, comic hero presences on both platforms have virtually exploded.
In film, after DC's hugely disappointing, "Batman and Robin" in 1997, Marvel took advantage of this weakness and fired back with "Blade" in 1998. Blade became Marvel's first successful film; despite being produced by New Line Cinema - a sister company of DC.
We said "DC vs Marvel" was a friendly war, didn't we?
Going into the new millennium, Marvel kept up the pressure with new offerings and sequels for "X-Men," "Spider-Man" "Daredevil," two more Blade films and more. However, television offerings, both in the past (Spider-Man, Captain America) and at the time, like "Mutant X" and "Blade: the Series" proved Marvel's formula (except in animated series) just didn't work for the small screen.
And where was DC during all this? Well, they were taking the small screen by storm with shows like "Smallville," and brilliant animated series like "Batman Beyond" and "Justice league/Unlimited." But, their return to a formidable movie presence would return with "Batman Begins" in 2005, a couple of masterpiece level sequels and a few memorable offerings like "Constantine," "Watchmen" and "V for Vendetta."
By 2011, that was just about it for DC in film and television. Smallville had ended without the promise of a Superman reveal, Justice League Unlimited ended in 2006 and the brilliant animated series and "Young Justice" just couldn't maintain the creative high of its 2011 freshman season. In addition, DC put out some severely panned films like "Green Lantern," "Jonah Hex" and even "Superman Returns."
But since 2008, Marvel has virtually dominated our world's movie screens with their new "cinematic universe."
Building it as a line within a comic line, the "House of Ideas" has been riding high and very profitable since the debut of the first film in the series, "Iron Man" in 2008. Since then, Marvel studios have produced 11 consecutive, wildly popular films building this universe; with many more to follow. Plus, this line carries into our television and computer screens with "Agents of SHIELD" and the very cool Netflix series, "Daredevil."
DC, taking a cue from this action, began its own cinematic universe offering with the highly confusing and panned, "Man of Steel" in 2013. They too have announced the addition of 10 more films which will build their own movie universe. But now, as before, where DC fell short on the large screen, they made up for it on the small with launches and very successful airings of "Arrow," "The Flash" and "Gotham." Plus, with upcoming series like "Supergirl," "Preacher," "Titans" and even "Lucifer" it looks like DC intends to maintain its broadcast dominance.
But unlike Marvel, DC's television universe has no relation to their films line - at least, no relation so far...
So with all the comic media offerings out there, and information we've amassed for you, we now go back to the two questions we asked prior:
1) What company has the upper hand?
2) Which one is doing a better job?
Much as I hate to admit it, Marvel, you're the answer to both questions and you've won this war.. Damn it DC, get it in gear already!!!
What do you think?