Wednesday, November 5, 2014

DC vs Marvel: More Things About Comics

I read comics.

Because I have a more than passing interest in comics, I am often led to websites that discuss comics and comic book characters, and, by extension, the TV and film adaptations of comics.

Not all of which have been that good.

Invariably, like the sound of screeching tires, my focus is drawn down to the comments section; that cesspool of trollery and fanboy bitching. I don't know why I even go down there except as a masochistic exercise. Maybe I have too much faith in humanity and need to take it down a peg. Of course it's not all bad. One can often find some interesting debates on there if one is willing to wade through all the one-sentence negativity that tends to pervade.

One thing that I feel like I see all the time, however, and it baffles me, is the "This is why I stopped reading *blank*." comment, where the *blank* is either DC or Marvel. There seems to be quite a bit of A is better than B, or I used to like A but now I like B discourse among fans. Maybe there has always been, but in the age of comment sections, it is more apparent now than ever.

In addition to that, there are more and more articles being written about how Marvel is beating DC in the cinematic universe, or how DC is outproducing Marvel on television. In the wake of the superhero mediasplosion that various films and TV shows have brought about, there seems to be a debate about who has the upper hand. Who is winning this battle? Who is winning in terms of prevalence? Who is winning in terms of quality? Who...  who cares!?

Is it Wolverine? I bet Wolverine cares.

I honestly don't understand why it matters who is winning. It really doesn't. If we are talking about video game consoles, there are endless places where one can find information (both factual and unsubstantiated opinions) about why Xbox is better than Playstation, or vice versa. And wasn't there a third one to choose? I thought there was...

No... maybe I was thinking of something else.

Anyway, this debate, as vitriolic as it can be, actually has some use to us as consumers because these things are major purchases. If you're considering buying a gaming system that costs $500 or more, you are probably going to want to do your research. What games are exclusive to each console? What bundles are available? What are the peripheral services and features? Which one sucks balls? These are important questions you want answered before dropping the better part of a week's salary on a TOY.

DC and Marvel are media companies that create and distribute entertainment. Watching the newest episode of The Flash does not automatically mean you can't watch Agents of SHIELD also and enjoy them both. You may like one over the other just as the next person likes them both equally. And then there's a third person who thinks Big Bang Theory is still funny and relevant. Let's all agree not to talk to that person anymore.


Anyway, my point is that it doesn't matter. I like Ms Marvel. I like Batgirl. I like Daredevil. I like Dick Grayson. I don't see why it matters where these stories are coming from. Saying that DC is better than Marvel is like saying that Random House is better than Penguin Books. They are all just putting stuff out there. Both DC and Marvel have their flagship characters, and both have a stigma related to their past styles. DC is known for iconic, godlike characters, whereas Marvel has been known for telling the human stories behind the heroes. I feel like they have both diversified away from their core competency in interesting ways, and that both have some great things to offer.

There is no reason to choose one over the other. This isn't an all or nothing proposition. The debate makes no sense. "This is why I don't read Marvel anymore" is a very near-sighted opinion to have. If you don't like Avengers, read X men. If you don't like X men, read Captain Marvel. If you don't like Captain Marvel, then there is something seriously wrong with you.

I mean it, go read Captain Marvel.

These aren't $500 gaming systems, these are stories. Read them all. Watch them all. Love some of them. But don't get caught up in where they came from. When these two media companies are competing for our attention, we are the winners. If one of them loses, then we all do.

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