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Sunday, May 06, 2012 

Rivalry between DC/Marvel fans doesn't help wider perceptions

The Salt Lake Tribune wrote about the divide between DC and Marvel fans, and while there may be a valid argument to be found in this, they aren't working things out well with their rather superficial portrait:
"If you’re a DC guy, Marvel sucks. And if you’re a Marvel guy, DC sucks," says Greg Gage, owner of Black Cat Comics in Salt Lake City.

"It’s like the Hatfields and McCoys," says Kerry Jackson, co-host of X96’s "Radio From Hell" and troop leader of the clubhouse that is "Geek Show Podcast." "It is like a rivalry. Why it’s a rivalry, we don’t know."
First off, I'm both a DC and Marvel guy, so I don't see how they can say someone like me thinks the other company sucks when it's really the managements and people in charge of the franchises today who stink. And there are other people out there like me who do like both universes if you know where to look and want to, so I think that's an awfully cavalier thing to say.

That doesn't mean there aren't people like that out there - I've been well aware of there are for years, and it is harmful - but what they say brings it down to a superficial level and doesn't make clear that there is a crowd out there that's not hell-bent on juvenile rivalries.
"DC has all these invincible heroes, and it was kind of hard to relate to them," Jackson says. Marvel’s flawed heroes, on the other hand, are "just more relateable. I can’t relate to an invulnerable guy."

Peter Parker, the kid who becomes Spider-Man, has to deal with paying the rent, graduating from college, taking care of his frail Aunt May, and a host of other problems encountered by human beings, Jackson notes. What weaknesses does Superman have? Just one: Kryptonite.
Oh for heaven's sake. 70 years have passed and Superman acquired more vulnerabilities like exposure to magical energies, certain forms of solar radiation, and even attacks by titanic aliens, and they're saying he's got only one? What their interviewee's suggesting is that he's read almost nothing even in history articles to know just what developments have taken place in writing ever since the Golden Age. Besides, there's plenty of DC heroes who aren't invincible from a physical perspective, Batman being the most definite example - he's endured bone fractures, bullet and knife injuries, and during the 1990s, Bane's back-breaker attack. And there's a good number of other heroes with superpowers who aren't invulnerable to bullets and other physical injuries either. In 1979, Barry Allen, the Flash of the times, almost got seriously harmed by exposure to angel dust (PCP) in issue #276. That's hardly what I'd call "invincible".

In fact, even what's told about Spider-Man and other Marvel heroes sounds superficial at best: Peter Parker graduated from college long ago, and it's not like he always had to take care of Aunt May after a while, mostly because Anna Watson, Mary Jane's own aunt, filled this role as well when May took to living together with her at the same home for a time. But few of these problems in the MCU can compare to the biggest problem of all today in real life: the mess left behind by Joe Quesada when he was EIC when he destroyed Peter and Mary Jane's marriage.

Furthermore, even if a reader doesn't care much for DC's creations as much as for Marvel's, it's in bad form to just say DC's suck because don't some ideas start out simple and then lead to more complicated ones? To say they suck would also be an insult to every DC contributor back to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. They went to such pains to create Superman, among other heroes and protagonists big and small, and that's how some would-be fans today thank them?

Fortunately, there was another interviewee who did give a positive word about DC:
It’s that difference that has Jeremiah Lupo, who works at Dr. Volts Comic Connection in Salt Lake City, leaning toward DC.

"Marvel is grounded more in the real world, while a lot of the DC characters, like Superman and Wonder Woman, tend to be more godlike," Lupo said. "I kind of like the escapism of powerful people."
If there's anything I definitely agree with, it's that escapism is why I would read various DC superhero books, and also Marvel's.

Regarding personalities and other forms of human relations, there's another something this tepid article doesn't mention: DC actually tried to work on that ever since the end of the 1960s, and there were times when they succeeded, like in the Teen Titans, yet they make it sound as though nobody knows that!

There is a problem out there - and still is - with juvenile minded fans who don't seem to care whether either company's tried to make their heroes and supporting casts more appealing to their POV, and it is galling. But the way this article goes about it waters everything down, and otherwise doesn't make anything clear about how there is a segment of fandom that does respect and admire both DC and Marvel.

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I've always liked both. Never understood why some fans preferred one to the other.

The whole article sounds like arguments I was hearing in the mid-eighties, for crying out loud! DC is too godly, Marvel more realistic ...

There's no reason not to love both, or at least some books from both. I started a diehard Marvel Zombie back in the 80's, and the X-Men/Teen Titans crossover got me interested in the Titans, then in other DC books.

Now I'm reading far more DC than Marvel (I may hate Identity Crisis as much as Civil War, but I seemed able to forgive DC, since I could read other titles mostly untouched by it).

And yes, the "Superman is invulnerable to everything but Kryptonite" is another very old argument that, as you say, implies the article-writer hasn't done much if any research into the comics for decades.

Thanks for posting!

Take it and run,

Earl Allison

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