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It's time to end Marvel v. DC's super infamous feud: Who really comes out on top?

Marvel and DC's constant competition in the comics game doesn't mean one of them has to be definitively better than the other. – Photo by Dev / Unsplash

With the release of “The Batman” in all its goth, "this is clearly a Batman that only listens to the Cure" glory, the age-old question of Marvel versus DC has come up again.

Both DC and Marvel have diehard fans that will fight tooth and nail to declare that their favorite side is the best. But what about the common person — how will they know where to lay their loyalties?

Let's look at a variety of attributes of both comic and film series and see how they affect each side to help even the most indecisive comic fan make their choice.

Superheroes

What would a line of superhero comics be without its brightly-colored heroes that come in all shapes, sizes and powers? Why, they would be "Archie" comics, that’s what!

(Marvel fans: the Punisher did once chaperone one of Archie’s dances. See the one-shot comic, "Archie Meets the Punisher," if you don't believe me!)

DC’s superheroes are epitomized by the grandest of them all, Superman, who's able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, is faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive and once sneezed an entire solar system away — yes, that really happened.

A lot of DC heroes stand at those kinds of absurd power levels, at times making them kind of boring to read when they can instantly solve any problem just by discovering a new power or some strange new way to apply one of their old ones. This does still lead to some grand stories on an epic scale that rival some of the best science fiction novels out there.

Marvel’s superheroes are less powerful, so they come across as more interesting in their struggles and personalities. Almost every superpower comes with some kind of caveat to balance them out.

If you’re one of the strongest beings in the world, you’re also an out-of-control rage monster that does more harm than good. You can shoot lasers out of your eyes, but you’re a danger to everyone around you. You have the powers of a spider, but you’re also Peter Parker and nothing will ever go right for you.

Restrictions on powers bring heroes down to earth and make them more interesting.  Everything has a cost when all those great powers come with … well, you know.

That's one point for Marvel and zero for DC.

Movies and TV shows 

The Disney/Marvel juggernaut has been churning out movies for the last 10 years, and a complaint that can be leveled at them is that they’re all a bit same-y and kind of cookie cutter.

DC has been attempting to catch up, but it hasn't been that great a ride, with movies that come out only kind of good. Yet they do each have a distinct feel and style to them, so that has to count for something.

As for TV, DC has to take the point with its massive, sprawling television series on The CW that are constantly crossing over and having massive events. Sure, most of those shows don’t have the budget that Disney throws at its individual series, but doing more with less is a sign of talent.

And when it comes to animation, it’s no contest: “Batman: The Animated Series” and the shows it spawned still hold up decades later for stunning visuals, fascinating storylines and incredible voice acting. All of these series are streaming on HBO Max and come highly recommended for everyone reading this article.

That levels out the race with one point for Marvel and one for DC.

Best New Jersey superhero 

This is a tough one. Marvel comes hot out of the gate with the amazing Ms. Marvel, a Pakistani American girl from Jersey City, New Jersey, with her amazing stretch powers and joyous spirit that has her fangirling over all the superheroes that she gets to team up with. Her solo series is phenomenal and is definitely a good read before her Disney series comes out this summer.

As great as Ms. Marvel is, she has some stiff competition — mainly Batman. 

That’s right, the caped crusader is from South Jersey as old maps showed Gotham City sitting south of Philadelphia across from Metropolis, located in Delaware. It's probably not canon anymore, but Batman will always be a New Jerseyan in my heart.

Between the two, Batman has taken down any number of challenges and dangers with nothing but his wit, his skills and his near-infinite amounts of money. 

But to her credit, Ms. Marvel did once tell people that she wrote real-person fanfiction about them with zero shame, fear or cringe. That takes true bravery.

I think we’re going to have to award both sides a point in this one, leaving it at two across the board for Marvel and DC.

Continuity 

Both Marvel and DC have been producing comics for decades. The fact that each of their stories have been going for so long, are made by numerous different creators that carry different ideas and are written across multiple titles make some storylines nearly impossible to follow.

No matter how the companies try, they can never quite streamline things to make them more reader-friendly.

Marvel has been keeping the same continuity going from the beginning, with characters aging, changing and only sometimes giving up their marriages to Satan to return to the status quo (this really happened in "Spider-Man: Brand New Day").

In response to the Gordian knots that their continuity becomes, DC usually takes the "Alexander the Great" approach by chopping it apart and restarting. This might seem like a cheat, but it does make it more accessible for new readers.

The question becomes what’s better: consistency or ease of use? Both have their advantages and their disadvantages.

Consistency allows you to get attached and stick with your characters, but then it just becomes a mess down the line. Restarting the continuity allows new people to get into your comics with more ease — but your favorite characters might not make it through the next retcon, so don’t get too attached.

This leads us to a zero-sum, so everyone gets a point, keeping Marvel and DC both at three points.

With three points apiece, it’s a tie, and nothing has been accomplished. But in the end, it really does come down to personal preference, finding what character speaks to you and following their exploits.

If you meet a new character along the way that interests you, head to the internet to learn more about them and start reading about their adventures, too!

There's never been a better time to get into comics than with the zeitgeist that’s happening in film.

As comic fans, we can spend our time arguing over who's best, or we can revel in our shared love, talking breathlessly about what makes our new hobby so great or lamenting what makes it less than stellar.

Take it from me as someone who has read comics for years: They are a mess. A giant, fun, hot mess, like that hyperactive sweetheart of a dog that gets into the trash or that friend that calls you up after drinking for 3 a.m. pancakes and good times.

With comics, you just have to learn how to sit back, let go of your reservations and have fun.


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