There have been many wars in the world of comic books, but none is more fierce than the war that has raged on between rival comic book companies Marvel and DC since 1939.
The business rivalry has spawned a war between fans of each company, and it has been dubbed the “Fan War.” It is something that really is made public in the bowls of the comment sections of movie and comic book websites, but it has made it’s way too our everyday life. It has made fans feel the need to pick a side between the two companies instead of liking both.
You see the usual commenter online who bashes either DC and Marvel whenever either company make a big announcement in one of their films, or when there is a big storyline going on in a comic arc. Most people know what they are getting into when they read the comment section on any website, but since this seems to have started a fan war, I thought I would do some research as to why this war started and why it continues.
I took to the internet to get help from anyone I could on some insight into their fandom and why they chose a side in this war. You see, I personally do not have a horse in this race as I’m a fan of both Marvel and DC, but some fans do feel the need to choose a side. I polled 32 comic book fans who say they have a preference between the two.
The fans I interview consist of fellow Creators on Movie Pilot, fans that I asked to volunteer on other movie and comic sites, as well as personal friends. I asked them a series of questions regarding the two companies and how they feel about each, also how they felt about the fan war itself.
DC Fan Interviews:
Why do DC fans prefer it over Marvel?
Of the 32 people I talked to, 18 of them preferred DC over Marvel. I asked them why they liked DC over Marvel and here are some of the reponses. I have chosen a select few of them because most responses rang the same theme and I felt these responses summed up the 18 as a whole:
“Marvel feels really kitschy sometimes, as if they’re (in the nicest way possible) whoring themselves to the audience. The humor feels like its pandering, the characters usually feel very one dimensional (so that it can be sold to anyone), and some very stupid decisions (Mandarin/Trevor Slattery being one of the examples).”
“I think that Marvel tends to lean on the lighter side of things, and honestly feels unrealistic at times. I mean surely whenever people are fighting for their lives against an enemy, they’re not going to start just spouting out funny nonsense.”
“Marvel comics just don’t have the same amazing stories that DC does. Plus, I feel like most of Marvel’s ideas for characters came from DC. While it’s not like I hate Marvel with a passion, I will read a DC comics story over Marvel anyday.”
“I find the (DC) heroes to be more complex. There’s a rich back story behind each of them, and the DC comics/movies seem to focus more on the psychological toll of being a “hero” than Marvel does. My dislike for Marvel comes from the unnecessary amount of levity that they employ in their films. I never feel for any of the characters because none of it seems real. When Iron Man makes a quip a scene after his love interest is thrown in to mortal danger…that’s when they loose me. Here is a time and a place for comedy, but sometimes Marvel fails to make the distinction.”
So most of the responses are centered around Marvel’s more fun loving take on the superhero genre; DC fans don’t feel they are as realistic. There were also a lot of fans calling out Marvel for copying alot of their characters from DC. Hawkeye, Deadpool, and Mr. Fantastic are just a few of the copy cat characters they mentioned. While they also admitted that DC was guilty of their fair share of copying, they believe Marvel’s is more prevalent and obvious.
What did DC fans actually enjoy about Marvel?
I also asked them what they liked about Marvel in order to gauge whether or not there was any true hate between fans:
“Oh definitely, there’s a ton of stuff I love about Marvel. The Winter Soldier is one of my favorite comic-book movies, Scarlet Witch , Vision, and Doctor Doom are my favourite Marvel characters, and I really liked Avengers Disassembled/House of M/Avengers vs X-Men and Secret Wars. It’d probably be better to know that the first three comic storylines I listed had Scarlet Witch as a central character, and Secret Wars showed a reall brilliant side of Doctor Doom.”
“Marvel is great at comedy, while I don’t think they are great at telling a story, I do think they are enjoyable to read and watch. I don’t hate Marvel, I just think DC is better.”
“I love a lot of Marvel’s alterante universe stories. Old Man Logan might be one of my favorite comic books of all time. I think they have good characters, and ideas, but maybe don’t know how to use them quite as well (as DC).
“Yes, I have always been a big fan of Spider-Man. His secret identity is relatable and his super powers are unique. I loved Andrew Garfield’s incarnation. He was charming and quick-witted, but also felt deeply for the world around him. He and Emma Stone had excellent chemistry and her final scene in the second movie was absolutely heartbreaking. It was the first time I had felt real emotion watching a Marvel film”
There were actually 0 out of the 18 DC fans I interviewed that said they had no qualities about Marvel that they enjoyed. Interesting that there is a “fan war” going on and one side of it actually does enjoy the product of their favored companies rival.
Marvel Fan Interviews:
Why do Marvel fans prefer it over DC?
Next I asked the 14 out of 32 Marvel fans about their opinions of DC. Why do they prefer Marvel more?
“DC cannot decide what it wants to be. They constantly make continuity changes and it is too confusing to keep up with. While Marvel can be hard to follow at times too, they at least do not reboot their comics every year.”
“It’s just too dark, I know that is considered “realistic,” but it just makes it hard to enjoy anything. I don’t want non-stop comedy either though and that’s what I love about Marvel, they have found a good mid-ground.”
“DC can’t compete with Marvel, and they (Marvel) have such a better business strategy. Marvel knows what they’re doing and they have the superhero genre almost in a monopoly as far as films go. DC is trying to catch up, but I don’t think they know how to make their comics into movies. Plus they have Zack Snyder running things, and I’m just not a fan of Snyder as a director.”
“I wish they (DC) weren’t so into the Gods and alien aspect of the comic book world. I love how almost all of Marvel’s characters are just regular people, it makes them so much more relatable than DC.”
Almost a complete opposite of DC fans opinion, Marvel fans don’t seem to like the darker tone of DC. The majority of Marvel fans seem to be dissatisfied with DC on the movie side of things, but also did not like DC’s more “God like” characters.
What do Marvel fans like about DC?
Marvel fans were very vocal about their dislikes, but they had plenty of good things to say as well.
“I love their (DC) villains. One critique I do have with Marvel is that sometimes their villains can be a little transparent, and easily killed in the movies obviously. DC though has really interesting villains. I mean the Joker is a terrifying character that you can’t help but love.”
“DC has great stories. I think that when you look at some of the great Batman arcs and all of the other stories that they have churned out and it’s hard not to recognize some of the great writers they have on staff.”
” The TV show that they’re (DC) churning out like Flash, Preacher, and even Lucifer are great! While the last two aren’t exactly superheroes they are DC properties. I enjoy watching them just as much as Marvel movies, and while I don’t love the comics, I think they’re (DC) doing great on the TV and movie side; I thought ‘Man of Steel’ was decent, and ‘Batman V. Superman’ was great.”
“Batman is pretty badass! I mean it’s hard not to like some of their characters. I think they are way too overpowered, but they do a good job at keeping them grounded. But Marvel’s characters are just better to me. There is something about the way Marvel portrays them that keeps me more interested than DC.”
Just like with DC fans, a majority of Marvel fans found things they enjoyed about DC. Although 2 out of the 14 Marvel fans stated that they did not enjoy anything about DC. These next two quotes are from 2 fans who say they “hate” DC:
“DC thinks they’re better and I hate that arrogance.”
“They’re (DC) so freaking dark and their movies and shows are hard to watch. They are desperate to build their universe like Marvel and they can’t. I am a huge fan of the Marvel movies and it got me interested in the comics. I tried to read DC comics, but they just weren’t near as fun to read, and their movies are terrible.”
So, that is 2 out of 32 fans who could not find any qualities about the other company that they liked.
I think the next question I asked these 2 gentleman is pretty eye opening though:
What is your opinion of the fan war?
These next two quotes are the responses of the 2 fans who hated DC.
“I think that the war is just the way it is. I personally enjoy going on and talking trash to DC fan boys who troll a Marvel article, mainly just because it makes me mad. I have a lot of pride for Marvel and I just can’t help myself. So while I hate the war itself, I am not afraid to partake in it when I feel I need to. Most of the time it over the internet where I get really angry, because those are where the real assholes are. In my everyday life though I can talk about it with people normally though.”
“The war is stupid; people can like both. Just because I don’t like DC doesn’t mean people who do shouldn’t. I think they’re a crappy company and I personally don’t know why others enjoy them, but I couldn’t care less what they read or watch.”
It’s interesting that two people who hate DC still don’t even understand the fan war itself. They both admitted to arguing about Marvel being better than DC passionately, but they don’t consider it a “war.” They both admitted that the only time they really ever participate in the war is over the internet.
These were the responses from others:
“Look, I can nerd around with the best of them, but there’s a point where some people can cross into a little crazy. Love your heroes, be outspoken about your passion, but there’s really no need to bash the other side. Intelligent and specific arguments are a different thing, though. For example, my specific argument is the lack of emotional reverence in Marvel films, while a Marvel fan might say that they wish there was more humor in the DC universe. It’s when people get into childish “you’re stupid because you disagree with me” arguments that I think a line has been crossed.”
“I think that it is a bunch of internet trolls who don’t have anything better to do, but whine about something.”
“Like I said, I don’t like that the fan discussion has become a fan war, because a lot of the opinions are drowning in comments from trolls. The difference between the discussion and war is that we used to be able to say our opinions, and people would respond back with a different view while still being respectful. Now, overly eager fans brand their opinions as fact, which start flamewars. It’s more annoying than anything else, really.”
“The war is fun to read in the comments sometimes, but then I really start to think what’s the point? I read both DC and Marvel but, I just enjoy DC more for my own personal enjoyment.”
After I got to talk to all these awesome people I came to a realization…there is no real war. That is probably obvious considering a war involves death and so many other terrible things, but it’s obvious that is not the kind of war we are talking about. Were talking about people treating other people with disrespect over their opinions and attacking others over something as meaningless as fictional characters and stories.
30 if the 32 fans I interviewed found qualities that they like in their favored companies rival, which shows that in a medium like comic books, film, and TV that there is so much content out there that it is near impossible to find nothing you like about the other company. The 2 who could not find anything they liked in the rival company, still didn’t believe in the concept of a “fan war.”
So, what are my final thoughts? While 32 fans is not a large enough sample size to declare this fact, it is enough to create a theory about the fan war:
There is no fan war, it is all a matter of opinions. The “war” is nothing, but a finite group of people who get on the internet and choose to insult other fans and it has led to people responding to them and starting long threads of nothing but ignorant arguments for one side of the other. All that truly exists are two rival companies and their loyal customers.
Everyone has their opinions on the two companies, and like with anything there will always be discussion, but there is no true hate between fans of the companies, A Marvel fan does not hate a DC fan over their favorite character, movie, or company overall. While some will hate the company itself there is no war between fans.
We should all like what we like and we should be able to discuss it like civilized people, because at the end of the day all of these books, movies, and shows are just for our own personal enjoyment. Maybe you don’t like a company for a certain reason, but you can’t dislike another person just because they like it.
After making this article I have came to the conclusion that anyone with a good heart and a solid head on their shoulders will know to let others like what they want to like, while people over the internet will do what they love and that is upsetting other people for their own amusement. Those people who like to insult others and cause trouble, will keep making us believe there is a war, but it is nothing more than internet trolls, and it has been blown up into this enormous problem that has made people pick a side in a war that doesn’t truly exist in real life to begin with.
What did do you guys think? Give me your opinion in the comments!
I have a passion for Superhero films, and love writing about them.