Decided with all the big announcements and what occurring on both sides, that I’d take the time to point out their directions in comparison. Nothing biased, just pointing out their achievements in contrast because they do seem to be competing in that respect.
Now whether you have seen The Avengers movie or not, it can be said by how it turned out that it was a big successful for Marvel both on-screen and off. They’re success came from the Blockbuster Formula. They made the movies introducing each character each ending with something that would hint an eventual tie in to the others. They used recognizable actors that best display the character on-screen and pulls in fans of the actor. The studio of course spends a massive amount of money on marketing and creating the film, not to mention getting the aid of those producers that specialize in certain areas and are well-known. They created comics based on the movie and even changed characters within the comics to fit their film versions. Then to bring it all together had a solid story that gave each hero an equal amount of screen time that is enough for them to be able to stand out to the audience.
I don’t plan on just talking about Marvel because while they have done great, so has DC in their own right which I will point out below.
This is what makes Marvel movies most successful in my opinion. I mean any person who doesn’t read comics could easily say that most of Marvel movies weren’t good, but that’s because they aren’t exposed to enough films or the comics in general to make such statements and be able to truly back it up. Yes not all of the films were the best, but everything you have seen up to The Avengers movie has been including Captain America, Thor, Iron Man 1 & 2, and The Incredible Hulk. Any of the movies from Marvel you can insult, though you know what? At least they are making their characters known. We aren’t just talking about the big heroes, Marvel has managed to bring an audience to even the smaller heroes. Iron Man was even considered a B hero before the movies and now he has become a big favorite on-screen and off.
DC’s main success comes through their animated movies, the most consistent and quality cash cow that they can produce over Marvel. Problem here is that this is something that only the big fans are ever really aware of to go by or stumble upon. Sadly this does not save them when most of their movies which included their main heroes have failed miserably even when hyped up with the exception of The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel which is questionable on reception by fans. It was always either they didn’t have the right actors, the stories were bad, some focused too much on CGI. They weren’t really marketed in a way that would draw a big audience(besides Green Lantern which was still horrible). If you were to ask any person who the main canon heroes are for DC, most would know nothing beyond those who are a part of the Justice League or Young Justice. It’s not even that most wouldn’t know, but those like Batman are the only ones that really catch their attention. DC focuses too much on their main heroes such as Batman and Superman, and if you knew anyone besides them it would most likely be their sidekicks or the Teen Titans/Young Justice teams. They have too much of a tendency to milk these characters and neglect the rest to the point where they really hold no relevance to the main story.
On the other hand, they have had their successes, those can’t be denied. Many New 52 titles have done nothing but impress time after time while introducing many new titles that found a new home among the DC Universe as a whole. Like Marvel they have also extended further than comics by taking other mediums with movies(TDKR), TV series(Arrow and Flash)and even The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack topped because of how amazing it was. While Marvel is still catching up with live action TV series, DC has been steps ahead since the old Superman series and Smallville. Even when they heavily rely on Batman movies, their animated films are hard to rival because of their quality. Where they really succeeded was that they were losing readers due to a lack of quality in some stories and made a big move that brought many back and then some. That is very admirable that they would take such a huge risk, then at the end of last year up to now you can count out so many stories that were nothing short of memorable.
Marvel has done a wonderful job at making their heroes known, as most of you may know they don’t just have one Avengers team, but many others which are composed of other lower tier heroes that each have gotten their time in the spotlight and have stood out in a way that they do have their own audience. You have the multiple Avengers teams, Fantastic Four, X-Men (who have enough heroes to support 7 comic series at once!) and so on. Not to mention that when they actually have a comic event they tie in EVERY hero no matter how big or small, everyone is affected in some way. And it’s because of this that Marvel has no trouble taking any one of these heroes and displaying them on-screen and even create an audience for the ones that are lesser known. For some of you that don’t know, this is actually Marvels plan after Avengers dies down which is to start making movies to promote those heroes that fans do not know of. Already we have Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, and Ant-Man confirmed. Then we have 2 more movies which are unknown, and Marvel has recently announced that they have a plan for the next 8 years up to 2021. That is insane!
Marvel NOW!/ Wave 2/ Shared World
Marvel NOW! is the company’s latest publishing initiative, the next phase of Marvel ReEvolution, a concept that they revealed earlier this year. It’s basically a giant shake-up of Marvel’s entire universe and creates brand new titles, brand new creative teams, brand new costumes, relaunched titles, new digital incentives, new cover designs and even new secret identities, in some cases. It’s a complete overhaul for the Marvel Universe that the publisher promises will leave no major character or series unaffected. Of course some thought of it as some reboot or way of competing with DC’s reboot, but it’s was nothing new that hadn’t been done many times before, this was just another step in Marvels continuity as a whole. This is one of the best moves they could have made, not because it’s something that they do after every comic event, but because they are setting the characters up in a way that new readers can jump in and get caught up. One of the promises that was made about Marvel NOW! before it began was that it would show a more connected Universe within each books progression. They kept that promise and they made it so character’s never feel misplaced and everything lines up when they bounce around different books. Nothing is being messed with, no origins are being changed drastically, and what’s the difference between issue #36 compared to #1? Absolutely nothing.
There are already plans for a Marvel NOW! Wave 2. A new wave of titles that will generate the same amount of excitement amongst retailers and fans that the first wave did. From “Uncanny Avengers” to “Thanos Rising,” Marvel NOW! has been a hit, and we’re far from done. There is now an opening for many exciting new series, starting in July and carrying through next year. Those out right now are Avengers A.I., Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Superior Spider-Man Team-Up, Mighty Avengers, and Amazing X-Men.
The New 52 is a 2011 revamp and relaunch by DC Comics of its entire line of ongoing monthly superhero books, in which all of its existing titles were cancelled, and fifty-two new series debuted in September 2011 with new first issues. Besides the continuity problems, some slight costume dislikes and badly rewritten origins, New 52 does what it has to do which is deliver more quality stories to bring attention back to heroes that some might have given up on. This year alone I have read many DC titles and followed many heroes I never would have expected myself to because of the New 52 and it deserves some props for making a path for a lot of Marvel fans to explore. Even our favorite hero to mock Aquaman made it to the top of the most sold comics this year because of how respectable they have made him, that is an achievement unto itself.
DC’s #0 Month
As a Marvel fan I am telling anyone who is too to go out and pick up the DC 0′s while they are still fresh. Since reading a lot of them I have come to want to follow many of their stories now that I can understand them without having to go back and read everything that I missed. It was a great jumping point for many like me and I liked every one of them that I picked up. DC did great here by giving a new perspective on these heroes origins, even though this is something they should have started with when they first started the New 52. A good number of #0′s were still unsuccessful, but it’s the thought that counts really and I can appreciate them for that.
Avengers/ Avengers: Age of Ultron
Selling for 1.5 billion and as stated by Whedon was taken and inspired by the actual source material, the Avengers did an excellent job of showing what it means to be a superhero. Not only this but a movie that had great chemistry between the heroes which made them feel real and action scenes that were inspired from the comics and games. There storytelling was on point as it is how the Avengers first came together. They did what had to be done which was assemble the Avengers, that was the whole point of the movie besides showing what you would sacrifice to make a difference to face something larger than life. They brought in a villain, they brought in the team, they put the team through trials to show interactions and they set the stage for something bigger to come in the sequel. They have a slew of new movies for Phase 2 including Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant Man confirmed to lead up to the next Avengers adventure.
A lot of people have assumed that because of the similar name to the recent event, AoU is what Marvel is going for, but that is not the case. They’re doing their own version of the origin story for Ultron. In the origin story, there was Hank Pym, so a lot of people assumed that he will be in the mix. He’s not. They’re basically taking the things from the comics for the movies that they need and can use. A lot of stuff has to fall by the wayside. It’s a little bit darker than the other film because Ultron is in the house. There’s a science fiction theme that wasn’t there in the other one. Ultron is definitely something that evolves. This is a movie fans should be excited for because he is one of the most dangerous villains the Avengers have faced to date. Not only this but because thy are taking a different approach, things should take everyone by surprise.
Justice League of America Movie
Getting to the JLA movie which is now to be expected we have the question as to how they will go about making this successful. They can go their own route or they can go the Marvel route and compile the movies leading up to the JLA which could be less risky. Aside from that, after the success of the Batman trilogy you have the fear that WB might try to humanize the rest of DC’s roster or make them darker. Doing this could be the wrong move because DC heroes have some of the more far out origins and aren’t too down to earth like Batman is. Like the Man of Steel trailer for example, the fact is that you can see that they are trying to take a more human approach to his story which could go either way depending on what their actual focus is which we can only find out once more info is revealed. Not saying they’ve done anything wrong yet, but these are just things to consider after what we’ve seen so far.
The Amazing Spider-Man/The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Some say it was bad, but honestly they can’t help that they were attached that trilogy. If you wanted to see Spider-Man or care about the man under the mask then this is the movie for you. This was the movie I believe that the true Spider-Man fans deserve. Gwen Stacy and Peter had a very believable chemistry as they were both very smart individuals and she was his first love interest in the comics for those who do not know. Peter was witty, funny at times and very resourceful, all things which make him into the hero most of us like. What I saw was a geek who felt like an outcast among most others being also an orphan. Gwen showed that not all female companions are completely useless as it didn’t turn into another story of the villain trying to kill the heroes girl. The action was great and not packed with it being an origins movie and they did right by starting hem off in high school like they should have been. I do have to point out that if the only complaint about the movie is it being another origins movie then you probably shouldn’t have watched it to start with, understand the hero first, then you get to see their world grow. Overall excellent movie and the sequel should be very interesting as the untold story continues to unfold and we are also introduced to Electro!
Man of Steel
Man of Steel managed to do what most other Superman films failed. They took a hero which many don’t take seriously, and showed them what kind of hero Superman truly is. There was amazing special effects which were used very effectively by Snyder, maybe relied a bit too much upon. A believable story written by Nolan and Snyder to make Superman the god among men feel human. The cast was great, and the fight scenes were entertaining as well. Last, it could have gone on a bit longer than expected, though a success all the way. The only issue with this movie is the reception among fans. It has to have the most diverse views of any superhero film and it hurts it because this was supposed to be the turning point for DC/WB after TDK trilogy moving towards the JL film to come.
Batman Vs. Superman
Two of pop cultures most recognized icons together for the first time? Who wouldn’t be blown away! Now that everyone is pretty much aware of Batman’s story, they are able to throw him into this new Universe and what better way than with the Man of Steel. This is something for everyone to look forward to because this is the first time you are getting a tag team such as this and you know that it will be something to remember no matter its relevance down the road. Now of course this doesn’t come without concerns and risks. Mainly it could be rushed, Batman could overshadow Superman, the inevitable and predictable fight, and Man of Steel problems that might be ignored.
Live-Action Movies – Marvel
Animated Movies – DC
TV Series – DC
Marketing – Marvel
Initiative Reception – Marvel
Fan Reception – Marvel
In the end DC does have their successes, but not enough to carry them further than Marvel has gone these past couple years in entertainment. Nothing against them but they have an uphill fight if they want to keep up because it seems that they are a few steps behind each time and while there are ahead in other areas, it’s not what’s going to win them over with general audiences across the many mediums they have stepped into. As Dan Slott had said before in reference to DC/WB movies, they are too apologetic to the audience for making “superhero” films. That’s not the right mindset to have when trying to appeal to the people who look up to these heroes and want to see a proper representation. Marvel has fun with the idea of superheroes and shows you what comics has to offer. That is why their reception is so much higher at this moment. They sell the idealism of heroics to the audience, to the world. The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel are great to reference to in terms of successes, but beyond those two they have given the people no reason to care for anything other than those to or want anything else. It’s a problem that is still holding them back even when Arrow is successful on TV.
At this moment you have to hand it to DC for a good start into their first big comic event of the New 52. That is a step in the right direction and can hopefully produce more books to replace those that have been lost or are about to be cancelled. Even for having a book like Wonder Woman as a big seller when there are those who still complain about female equality in books. Villains Month this week as well is a great move towards better marketing because it’s something different and hopefully fans come to appreciate this when that begins this September.