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Thursday, May 13, 2021 

Why must anybody really care about a DC vs. Marvel crossover with Ron Marz in the credits?

Fortress of Solitude looked at the history of the 1996 DC vs. Marvel crossover, which was co-written by Ron Marz and Peter David, and illustrated by Dan Jurgens, from a time when Marvel/DC relations were far better than today:
Comic book fans love nothing more than a good fight about Marvel and DC. Both companies have a strong legion of followers who’ll defend them and debate which superhero would beat the other. In 1996, both publishers came together to address who’s better in the shape of the four-issue DC Versus Marvel Comics crossover miniseries.

Written by Ron Marz and Peter David and illustrated by Dan Jurgens and Claudio Castellini, this rapid-fire series featured 11 battles between the two respective universes. Six battles were determined by the creative team, while the readers voted for the remaining five via ballot.
I think this misses whether the heroes should be fighting each other, rather than villains, because this kind of tale precedes what was to follow in the coming decade, when you had heroes fighting among themselves more than they actually did against villains, as seen in Civil War, for example. Sure, I realize this is some self-contained mini building on a particular plot spotlighting the cast of 2 universes, but I think it's still ludicrous to emphasize this kind of premise so heavily, when here, you could concieve of a team up tale in the vein of famous semi-anthological series like Brave and the Bold, Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two-In-One, and DC Comics Presents, starring foremost a prominent player alongside fill-in-the-blank as the monthly guest, and pit them both against a formidable villain of some sort.

Though there were certain victories and defeats in the miniseries, it's not like anybody really won or lost, though it was controversial (and that's precisely why the way it was prepared was ill-advised). Probably the only good thing about it was the trading card game:
While most fans might not remember the DC Versus Marvel Comics miniseries, they do remember the trading card line released as an accompaniment to the crossover event. It became immensely popular among collectors and featured some outstanding artwork. Plus, it also contained some other fights that didn’t appear in the main series, while including the villains this time around.
And so, we see why the card game would have to be far more worth our time than the miniseries, which would have to be one of Marz's most overrated mainstream efforts, the inclusion of a more talented writer like David notwithstanding. In hindsight, it seems like just the tale Marz would want to write, if only because it underscores how cheap his mainstream writing really was. If the Big Two still make these card games, I wonder if they still employ talented artists with competent character designs that aren't politically correct? Probably not.

At the end, it says:
Considering that it’s been 24 years since the crossover event, a lot has changed at DC and Marvel. Some characters have increased in popularity, while others have disappeared entirely. With all the changes and developments since then, it’s only fair that the two companies have another battle to settle the score. After all, the fans need to know: who is truly better?
I don't see how that matters when the scripting merit's become nonexistent in mainstream comicdom today. It's not that one character's truly better in strength and skill than the other that matters, but how entertaining the story really is that does. With sales so poor, why do they think fans even care when they've been driven away, and the Big Two have practically ostracized each other? The last time they did a 2-universe crossover was in 2004, when Kurt Busiek and George Perez were in charge of a special, and since then, they've largely stopped. And how can they say some characters' popularity increased - in comics, anyway - when sales are dismal? What "developments" are there that work well? That's why the day's coming, sadly, when many superhero comics will disappear.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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