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Saturday, August 28, 2021 

The Marvel/DC rivalry may be over, but their contempt for fandom isn't

In this sugarcoated Newsarama op-ed, they babble about the onetime, unnecessary rivalries between Marvel and DC, which seem to have vanished in the past years without anybody noticing:
What's striking is that even while the publishers are still dipping their toes in having a little meta-fun with one another's characters, what was once a storied, high-profile, sometimes good-natured, sometimes not rivalry is for all intents and purposes dead… kaput … an anachronistic remnant of a now bygone comic book era.
What difference does it make if rivalries are seemingly gone now? What remains from the past 2 decades, ever since Bill Jemas took it all to a whole new level with hostilities, is terrible writing, and art to match. Something these phony news sites, in all their apologia, usually won't dwell on, if at all. Where's the fun in that?
And it wasn't just comic book shop (and then message board and social media) talk about who had the better heroes or villains. The publishers themselves engaged in the rivalry … egged it on … which of course set things up for huge sales successes like 1996's DC versus and Amalgam and 2003-2004's JLA/Avengers when they could find their way to working with one another.
Well that's actually the problem. In fact, what's the point of this whole article if they won't talk about story merit? The aforementioned Jemas led to a situation where for at least a decade, there were no more crossover publications between the 2 publishers, and again, it doesn't constitute merit alone just to do a joint project together.

But, here's an interesting point for something they lack these past few years:
The time of death for the Marvel-DC rivalry was 2020. What was the cause?

A lack of oxygen.

There are a few specific factors, including geography, the now-lack of a centralized print distributor serving both publishers, the comatose state of the in-person comic book convention, and the practical implications of both publishers being owned by corporate giants and serving as some of their respective parent company's most valuable intellectual property farms.

But most of all both publishers simply no longer have public spokespeople engaging in just about any (much less spontaneous) public dialogue other than carefully planned and approved promotion of its comic books and characters.

In 2021 when a badly-worded tweet can cause an immediate backlash, Marvel and DC have seemingly made the decision that they'll rarely risk having an executive, editor, or marketing spokesperson making anything that could even be considered a wave, and have also seemingly asked creators to mostly refrain from doing the same.
I'm afraid they're not entirely correct here, if Dan Slott's recent boomerang back to harassing fans is any suggestion. But apart from that, they're getting someplace: neither C.B. Cebulski nor Marie Javins make many public announcements or appearances now, if at all. But if their identity politics pandering (turning Robin 3 bisexual and keeping Iceman homosexual, for example) says anything, they're not really worried about backlash at all. Pandering to leftist ideologies, for them, is today considered safe territory. It's certainly different from years before, where they actually were worried about losing family audiences for their merchandise prospects, even more so than for the comics themselves. Today, if the recent retcon of Tim Drake is any indication, they're no longer concerned at all. Mainly because they did more than enough over the past 2 decades to drive away family audiences along with casual readers of their books, and the audience they pander to these days are leftist ideologues.

And maybe that's precisely why the rivalries of the past, which were ill-advised as it was, have since disappeared: because ever since, they've found common ground in new causes: modern leftist identity politics, not to mention insulting the fanbases when they object to their steps. The company wide crossovers they remain stuck on are another letdown.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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