Register for our free newsletter

 
 
Latest News

DC Comics vs. Marvel Comics

Comic fandom was all set for the Middle East’s first Comic Convention this month. The regional unrest, however, has prompted organisers to push it back to yearend. We’re giving you a taste of things to come though pitting DC Comics and Marvel Comics against each other.

 

Started in 1939 as Timely Comics, Marvel Comics is owned by Marvel Entertainment, which has become a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Its characters live in a single reality known as the Marvel Universe, set in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Spiderman, Daredevil, the X-Men, Ironman and, yes, the Transformers are residents, usually reflecting real life on its own universe. These days you’ll see a Marvel hero lurking about in a movie or through myriads of parodies on Youtube. Kipp marvels at their omnipresence.

Editor's Score 1

Founded in 1934 as National Allied Publications, DC Comics is a subsidiary of Warner Bros, which is owned by Time Warner. The initials ‘DC’ came from Detective Comics, one of the company’s earlier series. Popular characters include SupermanBatmanWonder Woman, and their teammates in the Justice League. Most of its characters live in completely different universe, and perhaps too far from reality as the company’s presence in the public psyche is no way near that of Marvel’s. Kipp is giving them a miss.

Editor's Score 0
 
VS

The Walt Disney Company bought Marvel Comics for $4.24 billion in 2009. When it comes to movies its string of blockbuster movies (and surprisingly, sequels) have been raking it in, from Iron Man 2, drumming up $328 million in its opening week worldwide to the Transformers grossing $702 million globally. Then there’s Spiderman, the X-men movies and The Hulk…This one’s an easy pick, boys.

Editor's Score 1

Owned by Time Warner since 1969, DC became part of the company’s film division only last year—hinting at plans to build more of its characters into future films. Not every DC concept has been a hit though. A movie about Western bounty hunter Jonah Hex, for example, took only $10.9 million worldwide last summer. It cost $47 million to make. Even with Green Lantern set to launch in June, DC could be getting on the superhero movie bandwagon a little too late as it fills the void left by its Harry Potter Franchise.

Editor's Score 0
 
VS

Between Spiderman grossing $115 million within the first three days of its release in back 2002 and Transformers taking in seven times that figure, Marvel at least for now, houses the biggest money making movie characters. And of course, this doesn’t even include profits coming in from merchandise. Think fastfood, toys and games.

Editor's Score 1

DC could stand to lose its sole proprietorship to the Superman copyright, after a court ruling in 2009. The square-chinned alien, one of the company’s biggest cash cows, is now shared property with the heirs of co-creator Jerome Seigel. Not to worry though, DC still owns his ability to fly and characters like Lex Luthor (teeheehee). The race is on to get a new Superman film in flight by 2011, as Warner Brothers could lose the complete rights in 2013. Considering the Superman films have grossed up to $200 million, this could very well be DC’s Kryptonite.

Editor's Score 0
 
VS

Of course we’re not just here to talk movies. Comic Con, after all, came from those precious graphic print versions. Marvel only contributes two issues to the ten most valuable comic books list. The first is its debut issue, Marvel Comics, No. 1, fetching $367,000 at auction and only taking sixth place in the most valuable list. The other one is Spiderman’s debut issue Amazing Fantasy, No. 15. It takes the last place with a value of $280,000.

Editor's Score 0

Say what you will but Superman IS comic book history. The Man of Steel’s debut in the Action Comics, No. 1 paved the way for the rest of the superheroes. Valued at $1.5 million, it’s the most valuable comic book in the world—ever. In fact, eight of the ten most valuable comic books are all from DC Comics—a clear winner in Kipp’s eyes.

Editor's Score 1
 
VS

There’s too many animated series from both companies. So Kipp would rather go through a much shorter list for comparison: live action shows. Sure, Marvel had the Amazing SpiderMan in the 70s and the Incredible Hulk in the 80s. But Marvel has no currently running TV shows, let alone a musical. Although there’s talk that the Hulk is making a comeback, Kipp still feels Marvel is largely ignoring the couch potatoes among us.

Editor's Score 0

And from what we see (musicals and unaired episodes included), there’s a lot more interest in making live action spots for characters in the DC world. Since the 50s, TV producers and directors off Broadway have kept an eye on DC from the Wonder Woman series (1975-1979) up to the ongoing show about Clark Kent’s teen years in Smallville. Wondering which musical we’re talking about?  It was called “It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s Superman.” How can Marvel top that? Kipp’s calling this a sure win.

Editor's Score 1
 
VS

Marvel has licensed its characters for theme parks, including at Florida’s Universal Orlando Resort and the Universal theme parks in California and Japan. In 2007 Marvel signed with the Al Ahli Group to build Marvel’s first full-fledged theme park in Dubai by 2011. The $1 billion project is currently on ice, without a clear response from developers when plans will be revived. Skeptical that any superhero can save the theme park now, Kipp’s quite happy not to have to see any men in tights walking around minors in the park anyway.

Editor's Score 1

DC Comics is still on the kiddy rides when it comes to the theme park business. It only just signed a deal with Six Flags in 2009, to create an exclusive floorless roller coaster for its Bizarro character, a mirror image of Superman who is often but not always an antagonist. One ride? Meh.

Editor's Score 0
 
VS

It’s been hit or miss for Marvel’s video game foray—enough for there to be a best and worst list of Marvel video games floating online. The latest video game that features its characters is a video game created by Capcom, creators of Resident Evil and Streetfighter. Called Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, it’s what you’d expect it to be, just a lot of fisticuffs and frenetic long kicks which are often the result of confused, random button pressing by casual and serious players alike. It doesn’t do much to extend the Marvel franchise now does it?

Editor's Score 0

Joining a long list of DC Comics-inspired video games, DC Universe Online was launched at the beginning of the year. Players can create their own hero or villain and interact with legendary characters like Batman, Wonder Woman and the Joker.  Initially slated for release in 2009, the video game took 150 programmers and artists five years to complete, costing more then $50 million. With a back-end cost, the game is not positioned towards the casual players. They’ll need to muscle some attention from those who don’t mind paying to play but big risks could mean big opportunities and Kipp will give it up for DC’s leap of faith this time.

Editor's Score 1
 
VS

Editor's Score 4

Editor's Score 3
 
VS

It was a close call but looks like it’s clear which one saves the day. DC is left to make do under Marvel’s shadows.
*photo from tvtropes.org, disnology.com and www.thekidswindow.co.uk

 

Leave a Comment