Saturday, 16 August 2014


The internet is full of lies.  Some are funny because they're not true.

An internet list of how DC is socially better than Marvel at the moment on screen and in comics has been release.  Some of it is true, most of it false.  Both DC and Marvel are ahead of each other on some things, behind on others.

Wonder Woman vs Black Widow.

Yes, Warner Brothers has been struggling with Wonder Woman on film and TV for some time.
  • Joss Whedon struggled with a script for some time, finally offer Warner Brothers a fish-out of water what-does-it-mean-to-be-human tale which Warner rejected.
  • In 2011 David E Kelley made a pilot for a Wonder Woman as a businesswoman by day, crimefighter by night for NBC.  NBC opted not to pick up the series.

In 2013 DC President Diane Nelson admitted the difficulties Warner had been having with Wonder Woman but said that bring her to screen (film or television) was a priority.  Of course, the internet translated that has "DC says Wonder Woman is too difficult."
Since that, as the Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice film developed, Wonder Woman role in it developed and Gal Gadot was cast.  Gal has been contracted for three films, the Batman/Superman film, the Justice League follow up and a Wonder Woman solo film.  The rumoured release date for the Wonder Woman film is expected to be July 2017.

Meanwhile after her break-out role in Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier Marvel has only just announced that they are "developing" a Black Widow film for future release.

Reality:  Wonder Woman - 2017 release date set.  Black Widow - in development.

Batwoman vs Northstar.

Northstar became Marvel's first openly gay character in 1992's Alpha Flight #106.  Twenty years later (with his sexuality avoided for many years) this minor character eventually married in Astonishing X-Men #106.

Batwoman was created in the midst of allegations that Bruce Wayne was gay in 1956 as a love interest for Batman.  She disappeared with many other Bat-characters in 1964 and was written out of continuity in with 1986's continuity re-writing mini-series Crisis of Infinite Earths.
The modern incarnation was introduced in the 2006 series 52 as an out lesbian and survived 2011's continuity rewriting event "Flashpoint."  In the new universe Clark Kent and Lois Lane's marriage was written out of continuity (and they're dating other people), as was Aquaman and Mera's marriage, and that of Scott Free and Big Barda.  The only major marriage that survived "Flashpoint" was Animal Man's and that was rocky.  Management at DC feel the marriage kills stories - just as Marvel did in 2007 when they magicked away Peter Parker and Mary Jane's marriage in Spider-man comics.

Reality:  Marvel let a minor character get married, DC has an anti-marriage policy at the moment.

DC's all Dark & Gritty, Marvel has one fun story.

Yes, DC has been dark and gritty increasingly dark and gritty ever since the success of a number of dark Batman stories in the 1980s.  This comes and goes, fun series are released and canceled, and promises of changes are made, but then dark and gritty Batman films keep making a lot of money and they keep going further that way.  Marvel is pretty much the same, the the extent that in the JLA/Avengers crossover of 2003, the DC characters were horrified by the dark and grittiness of the Marvel universe.

Reality:  You can always find examples of fun stuff from both companies, but not enough from either.

Superman/Batman vs Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Yes, Warner Brothers is far behind DC on the their film universes with Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice not out until 2016, with Marvel up to film 10 so far.
And, yes, Batman has been recast because the Batman in solo films has always been "realistic" and not suited to a shared universe.

People of Colour

DC and Marvel add people of colour to their roster all the time.  There are number of ways to do this:
  • Support characters - but that's mostly tokenism.
  • New Superheroes - common, but new super heroes have a very high fail rate, and it looks bad with minority super heroes fail again and again.
  • Sidekicks and Spin-off characters - have more success than completely new characters, but again reeks of tokenism.
  • Replacing Old Characters with New - Fairly common as a gimmick for short term sales boost but usually reversed within a year.
Reality: Marvel's doing the fourth one more than DC at the moment, but both do all four regularly.

Batman vs the new Ghostrider

This seems like a personal judgement on the characters rather than a subjective thing.

Hero titles vs silly Guardian Characters.

Batman was called Batman in the recent trilogy.  Superman was called Superman in Man of Steel.  Green Lantern was called Green Lantern in Green Lantern.  I don't even know where this comment comes from.

Yes, Guardians of the Galaxy included silly characters.  Which is great and suited the film.  The Green Lantern Corps in Green Lantern didn't include (even in the background) the squirrel, dog or tree members, which is a shame.

DC's male demographic and Marvel's female titles.

DC's New 52 relaunch was intended to expand their readership.  They commissioned  a survey to see if it worked and 93% were still male, only 5% were new to comics and only 2% were under 18.  So it failed to expand the base.  They certainly have made many mistakes and continue to do so.

On titles, looking at September 2014, DC has:
  • Wonder Woman.
  • Trinty of Sin: Pandora.
  • Superman/Wonder Woman: Future's End.
  • World's Finest: Future's End (Huntress/Power Girl).
  • Supergirl.
  • Batgirl.
  • Birds of Prey.
  • Catwoman.
  • Batwoman.
  • Harley Quinn.
  • Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman.

In September 2014, Marvel has:
  • Black Widow.
  • Elektra.
  • Ms Marvel.
  • She-Hulk.
  • (Come October "Thor: God of Thunder" will be replaced by "Thor" with a female Thor - as noted in the meme)
While those are just the titles with female leads, and there is no reason to believe that a comic with a female lead will be female friendly, it shows that some cherry picking is going on in the meme.

Reality:  Both companies can do a hell of a lot better and make frequent mistakes.

Black Captain America.

Ascended sidekick, see points 3 & 4 in "People of Colour" above.


A lot of generalisations, ignoring facts and specially chosen facts.  The truth is both companies can do better on most of these issues.  They certainly try, but often fail in major ways.  Instead of generalising one company as better than the other, let's support the good in both and attack the bad in either.

~ DUG.

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